Social Enterprise

Are bloggers destroying journalism as we know it?


The founder of Audiocafe has started a brush fire in the blogosphere with his comments about bloggers being "intellectual yahoos and digital thieves." His views, which appear to be antithetical to those of most people in Silicon Valley, are admittedly "not designed to be particularly fair or balanced." The hyperbolic title of his new book, "The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture," paints the 'net as nothing more than a home for larcenous hooligans bent on the destruction of society.

Here is one of the book's claims:

"Millions and millions of exuberant monkeys ... are creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity."

'Amateur' charge infuriates blogosphere (CNN)

The issue of bloggers got even muddier on June 14th, when the Bush administration attacked the proposed "Free Flow of Information Act," which would protect "anyone engaged in journalism" from having to identify their sources except in cases where crimes have been committed, when such an act could harm national security, and in a few other cases. However, blogging continues to gain popularity among all groups of people and even seniors, a group historically underrepresented in new technology trends. In fact, in early 2005, it was estimated that more than 10% of Internet users had contributed to an online diary of some kind.

Bush administration attacks 'shield' for bloggers (CNET)

Blog Statistics (IT Blog)

Web savvy seniors embrace blogs (MSNBC)

I, as an IT professional, tend to believe that technology helps to improve things in most cases. Technology has made us the most productive workers in the world, has opened up new opportunities for anyone willing to put in the work, and has certainly put a dent into the readership and viewership of the "traditional" media. I believe that in an era where the line between journalism and entertainment is muddy, independent journalists are vital to make sure that important news stories are covered. CNN recently talked about Paris Hilton's return to jail for an entire day, even though several other stories with more real impact should have received air time.

I remember when the same kinds of debates were going on regarding television. I recall newspapers' claims that TV news "dumbed down" the events of the day, as a half-hour news program simply could not go into the same kind of depth as the printed media. However, it is difficult for me to see the same argument, given the richness and depth of Internet media. Blogs aren't even just for Internet journalists any more. I am implementing blogs at work in an effort to more fully document job descriptions and daily duties.

Are Internet bloggers worthy of the same kinds of protections as other journalists? Do you agree with the founder of Audiocafe, or do you think bloggers serve a purpose? Do you put more trust into the mainstream media or has their propensity to entertain rather than inform turned you off? Join the discussion.

87 comments
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The issue of bloggers got even muddier on June 14th, when the Bush administration attacked the proposed "Free Flow of Information Act," which would protect "anyone engaged in journalism" from having to identify their sources except in cases where crimes have been committed, when such an act could harm national security, and in a few other cases. However, blogging continues to gain popularity among all groups of people and even seniors, a group historically underrepresented in new technology trends. In fact, in early 2005, it was estimated that more than 10% of Internet users had contributed to an online diary of some kind. Even when accused of a crime, one has some rights to withhold speech. When not accused of a crime, the right to withhold any and all information, according to personal preference, ought to be recognized solely on the basis of the First Amendment. Special protections for bloggers miss the point. If I don't feel like sharing some information with you,

jdclyde
jdclyde

People don't seem to understand that journalism, as we know it, SHOULD be destroyed. Sensationalist crap, intentional lies, distortions, and misrepresentations are the standard of todays media. The problem with blogging is if we destroy the old temple, what replaces it should be better, not worse. There should be laws on the books for prosecuting journalists/editorialsists/bloggers for putting out false information. Hold the bastards accountable for what they say instead of giving them a shield to hide behind.

Matt51F1
Matt51F1

Once upon a time (obviously a fairy-tale), journalists had the ability to research *facts* and the articles they write *may* be worth reading. By and large, the only difference between journalists and bloggers is that journalists get a paycheck. Both write features that are often imbued with half-baked opinions and minimal fact-checking that result in something not terribly dissimilar in nature. As far as integrity is concerned though, journalists rank up there with car salesmen & politicians.

tkainz
tkainz

Are bloggers destroying journalism as we know it? If you mean are they destroying the oft one-sided, slanted, biased, self-serving free-flow of partial information as we now know it? I certainly hope so

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

According to many in the mainstream media, bloggers are nothing more than a sideshow. They decry the ability of bloggers to be mostly anonymous, publish whatever they want without an approval process, and claim that bloggers are somehow less honest than mainstream journalists. I certainly do not believe everything I read, much less everything that is posted on the internet. However, I have seen some good examples of well researched, documented, and sourced articles on blogs. In some cases, I would even trust the blogs over the mainstream media because I can link back to sources to see the original material myself. Do you see the "rise of the blogger" as the beginning of the end of the dominance of the mainstream media? Do you think that bloggers deserve the same protections as traditional journalists?

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

...at your suggestion that they have no more ethics than a journalist.

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

...and I would tend to agree with you. Journalism as it has evolved over the past ten years is barely better than the E! channel.

D.I.Y.
D.I.Y.

I agree with this completely. Professional journalists are miffed because they no longer get to decide what news is important, what news people want to hear about, and their eliteness is being challenged? My, what a tragedy. Choke on it, Dan Rather.

pete_w_flynn
pete_w_flynn

Some journalists are bloggers, but being a blogger does not make you a journalist any more than cleaning the toilet at a newspaper company makes you a reporter. This "blogging thing" has become narcissistic as posting a set full-frontal nude photos of yourself on the net. Most of the blog content on the web is noise - pure and simple. And there is so much noise that it's difficult to locate and identify people with something worthwhile to communicate, and the ability to do it effectively. The "mainstream" media has quite an advantage with visibility due to their money and political connections. Their are some small-scale operations, such as Micheal Yon, a freelance embed in Iraq, who provide detailed news reporting that is not available from any other source. The question we need answered, and likely by a Supreme Court decision, is the boundary between the wannabe and the genuine article when the qualifier "Journalist" is used. Until then we can argue all we want, and in the worst-case scenario bloggers will find themselves in the slammer over yet-undecided constitutional issues.

jbatul
jbatul

Journalist write ideas/opinion, events on papers and have it publish in a printing press in a particular newpaper, magazines, etc. is a usual process since time. But we are now in computer/space age printing and publishing can be done in web in new different way like blogs. bloggers are merely an authors and partly a publisher because they are also part of it (the website and the writer). Hope i'm right.

tdambra
tdambra

The mainstream media is weak and in thrall of govt. and big business. If any evidence of this is needed, check-out Michael Moore's new doc, Sicko, to see how life and death issues that go to the root of our lives are ignored by the mainstream media AND journalists. I think Blogging is the "Boston Legal" of the Internet: good bloggers cutting to the issues fearlessly, with nuance, gutsy commitment, and good humor. More power to the bloggers.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

..."Journalists" have already done themselves. If anything can be said of "blogging", it's that it's been a force to keep "journalists" more honest. The whole Dan Rather "Memogate" scandal is probably the best example of this phenomenon to date. If ?journalism? was the sacrosanct profession today that its most vigorous defenders like to pretend that it is, blogging would in fact be a non-factor; a universe of ignorant and irrelevant ?writing-in-their-underwear? ?yahoos? out to satisfy their own egos and cause trouble. Instead, what has been made more obvious is that it?s the journalism profession itself that has been exposed as the universe of ignorant and irrelevant ?writing-in-their-underwear? ?yahoos? out to satisfy their own egos and cause trouble.

jdclyde
jdclyde

The majority are political hacks with agenda and lies making them who they are. There are some that (despite a bias) will provide the supporting information to back up their claims. As they are not beholden to an editor that is only concerned with keeping the share holders happy, stories don't get killed or edited down to get ride of the most damning parts for someone on "their side". The problem with even the good bloggers, is [b]the people reading them[/b] that are to stupid and lazy to do any follow up on their own. The second problem with the READERS, is they only read the blogs that they agree with, instead of ones that challenge their own point of views (in general). You don't learn from people that are just saying the same thing you expected or wanted to hear. The thing wrong with the media at large, is they have already proven THEY are untrustworthy. Look at the story about Bush and the fraudulent papers that were brought out just before the election. And even when busted as fraudulent, "the media", instead of offering an apology and retracting the story, stood behind it saying "The story is real, it is just the papers (that support the story) that are fake". These were people that desperately WANTED the story to be true, so they didn't honestly look at it. Kind of like the political chain letters you get that really "zing" someone. The more it really zings someone you WANT zinged, the more likely it is a lie/fraud/fake.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

There was another TR topic recently on the subject of blogs supplanting print media. While I don't believe everything I see in the paper, I believe less of what I see in blogs. First, the entire genre is cursed by the perception that web logs are the current equivalent of the 1990's personal web pages and the 1970's CB radios. Right or wrong, there's an image of web logs as nothing but, "OMG, I spent the entire day riding my horse and gazing into Billy Wilson's eyes!" The term "blogger" doesn't differentiate between these personal interest web logs and those created with journalistic intent. Just having a web log doesn't make one a journalist. Second, even among the serious web logs, some of us have a hard time separating the wheat from the chaff. With other traditional journalistic sources, there's a relatively limited pool to filter. Four major TV networks, half a dozen news networks, four or five national newspapers, one local newspaper (two if you're lucky), three or four national news magazines; round up and call it twenty sources total. It doesn't take long to determine which ones are bogus. Heck, there are more than twenty web logs just on the subject of web logs themselves. For those of us with limited experience, it's tough to tell which ones are worth giving regular attention. Richard_RPU commented, "When someone posts propaganda, you can be sure that 10 bloggers will come out with evidence as to WHY it's propaganda, ..." That's great, but it assumes I know about the other ten web loggers and view their sites regularly. If I don't know they exist, how do I find them, and why would I trust them more than the site I first looked at? Andy, you commented, "I would even trust the blogs over the mainstream media because I can link back to sources to see the original material myself." How often does that original material come from the web site of a traditional journalism source, as opposed to being on the site of an independent web logger?

rob_annable
rob_annable

Good topic for thought Andy but I believe that professional journalists will always rule the roost! Bloggers submit valuable information and witty views, nobody can deny that but journalists are trained to write in a more involving manner. Interesting question about protection though... hard to say if bloggers should be protected by journalists laws... i guess that comes down to the rules of the website they are submitting the info on and the local laws of their country... Rob

CG IT
CG IT

blogging isn't journalistic reporting, bloggin is just someone's opinion on a topic.

faradhi
faradhi

The media has always been obsessed with getting the story first. Over the past few years several bloggers have released a story before a major media outlet. Additionally, the media is still under the delusion that are balanced. The difference between blogs and traditional media is that blogs are usually upfront with their biases. Well, lets face it, there has not been balanced media for years (if ever). The problem is that traditional media does not admit biases. Finally, the fear that "blogosphere", or whatever they call it, will cut into their revenue weighs heavily on their minds. So the traditional media, rather than trying to compete, is attacking the competition. This unfortunately is common for major industries to attack something that fundamentally changes the industry.

pr.arun
pr.arun

Extremely important issue in an era where publishing is no more a "costly" venture. I believe that what the Internet and bloggers in particular have done is added that extra "dailogue" component to reporting. News is no more a single feature. Its a conversation. And the whole process results in churning out more information than the blogger or the audience alone in particular could have collected.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

comes from the Latin verb "amo" which means to love. The man who first observed genetics was not a scientist, but a monk who was a gardner. The first one to theorize plate techtonics was not a geologist, but a cartographer. Tbe first working Airplanes were developed by a pair of bicyle shop owners and not aeronautics engineers. And, in our own industry, much work and innovation has been done by hackers with little or no formal education. IMO... The hatred of bloggers stems from 2 things. 1)They are innovating. 2)They are making fools of the so-called professionals, such as breaking "rather-gate" They also serve a real purpose in fact-checking. When someone posts propaganda, you can be sure that 10 bloggers will come out with evidence as to WHY it's propaganda, where it's false and where you can obtain verification.

jdclyde
jdclyde

DEMANDING an apology. Journalists are in the same boat as accountants. A field where if you didn't keep your integrity intact, you were toast. Now, both are suspect at every turn. Accountants because of the theft they can commit is on such a grand scale, and journalist because they know the stupid and lazy will believe any drivel that is in print or on tv. And then when you mix politics in, journalists and bloggers turn into [b] W H O R E S [/b] doing nothing but tabloid journalism at it's worst. Facts? yeah, right. "The facts, while interesting, are irrelevant." [i]edited because I can call the asses, asses, but I can't call them the w h o r e s they are..

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

and the so-called journalists are not, by the classic definition, professionals, or even journalists. TV news 'reporters' are merely models reading teleprompters who regurgitate words written for them by someone else.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

No wonder we're in the situation we're in. All those centuries without bloggers to tell the truth about journalism. Not! The vast majority of political bloggers I've read wouldn't recognize the truth if it bit them in the ass!

faradhi
faradhi

So many people are sheep. They don't want to be challenged. They want to be told what is the truth and then be told they are well informed because they read/saw it on this media outlet.

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

I said that I trust the blogs in part because I can link back to original material. It really doesn't matter what that original source is or where it exists, if the blogger is what I would call a "journalist," they will have multiple links to several sources, just as I do in the short pieces that I write. I like knowing that even if CNN is going to ignore the impact of General Pace's retirement in favor of covering Paris Hilton's return to jail for an entire day, there will be some journalists who will cover it. It is sad, but in a lot of cases I trust Comedy Central's news coverage more than CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

To answer the point you brought up with regards to my point on bloggers countering propaganda.... The spreading of such info is often viral, as it was in the case of Dan Rather. emails, places like TR and other sites link to blogs, posters post links to blogs, data is cited.... Now, as how to seperate the wheat from the chaff... A basic understanding of semantics and logical fallacies... (btw, the Nizkor project, and the fallacy files are two of my favorites, and I've just infected YOU with that knowledge, btw) is all you need. If something starts with.... "We all know" or "anyone with a brain knows", or other inflamitory prejoratives, you can pretty much guess that this is not going to be a sterling site to reference. Similarly, manipulations of logic and logical fallacies are also simple to spot.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

fifty years ago, the media generally had a resident expert in a particular field who was a contributor to a particular story. Now, we have Ken and Barbie reporting on subjects that they don't have even a cursory understanding of, couldn't hold a conversation on, and wouldn't be able to say boo about without the aid of a teleprompter. When a spun article hits the air or papers, bloggers attack, and rightly so. Most recently, I remember the media reporting on a scientific study regarding the effect of folic acid on colon cancer. the media's report was that folic acid does not reduce the risk of colon cancer, but actually increases it. I heard a thorough analysis of the same report from a doctor, who broke it out into layman's terms. Long and short... media was 180 degrees off base. The study was of cancer patients, and thus could not report on risk factors. The difference between control groups and groups taking folic acid saw an additional 2% increase of risk of a NON-CANCEROUS condition occuring post-cancer treatment. Ken and Barbie don't report, they regurgitate.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

The press is angry at bloggers for actually showing up the press in many ways. Not to mention that bloggers have called out a number of "professional" outlets on their less than honest stories. I think the other problem is the the professional press is having a hard time understanding why people are flocking away from TV news casts and the typical web news outlets and moving to the less "main stream" outlets and blogs. I think the fact that Comedy Central even rates when it comes to news shows speaks volumes and the press doesn't seem to understand why...

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

by m$ & other big biz to plug something? how fact checked is that? and bloggers can create their own fake blogs supported by other fake blogs. Witness: the proliferation of fake anti-spyware products, complete with fake blogs to review an support fake products that do nothing to disinfect your system tho they help thin your wallet. Valid antispyware sites can get lost in the chaff for newbies searching for solutions. This is just one topic. While bloggers certainly inovate, there is something to be said about having an org behind you both to check your work and to make sure you fact check and retract mistakes. Another example: George Ou's blog here on TR exposing the Apple security thing where Apple proclaimed a researcher's work showing an Apple flaw misleading. Two bloggers were 'paid off' by Apple to back up Apple and never recanted their lies or apologized to the researcher.

weslarson
weslarson

The difference between an amateur and a professional athlete, is that the professional gets paid to perform. The difference between a hobbyist and a professional in any field, is the business aspect. So, what then is the difference between bloggers who earn money, and journalists who get paid? There is no graduate degree in Journalism like there is in Law or Medicine, that is required before becoming a Professional Journalist. I assert that there is no such thing as a "professional" journalist. There are those who work for newspapers, magazines, and TV stations, and get paid. -Wes Larson

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

But apparently didn't read it yourself. The Beeb came up with the plan because they DO think they are doing something wrong.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...if they don't think they are doing anything "wrong"? If the BBC is going "to do something about it", it's going to be to do the same thing the MSM does here; continue to pretend and deny. I seriously doubt you can make a leopard change its spots. I mean, why change if you are already "correct"?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The BBC recognized there was a problem and is trying to do something about it. Meanwhile, back in the States, the news departments of the Big 3 networks are still trying to get better "ratings" so they can justify their existence to the bean-counters on the top floor. Welcome, Katie Couric. Edit: write, post, proofread

jdclyde
jdclyde

[i]"Senior BBC figures have acknowledged that the corporation could suffer from "groupthink" which tended towards [b]a liberal world view[/b] and had led to certain opinions being under-represented on subjects such as Europe and immigration."[/i] It is nice to see them finally admit to the bias non-liberals have seen for a long time. Now if only NPR would be honest enough to have the same study done on them. Don't worry, I won't hold my breath waiting.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I think it's more a change in the culture. We rarely take the time to actually read a newspaper any more. To be honest, I get most of my world and national news from BBC.com, and not even the BBC is perfect. I prefer the BBC because I have enough sense to know that the world's opinion of the US is important to the US and because I think I get more accurate reporting on American issues since the BBC, for the most part, has no political ax to grind as far as the USA is concerned. When I want fluff, I go to USAToday.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Judging by the declining circulations of our nations major newspapers, it's clear that most have chosen ideology.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

How about "an ideologue masquerading as a journalist?" Hearst's ultimate goal was the sale of more papers, so it was probably more about economics than politics.

weslarson
weslarson

Richard, the word you missed was "political". Nick said something about political bloggers, and you responded with a commentary about Tech Republic blogs. Nick, I, too, have read political bloggers that are way off the mark. But I've also read some that are spot on. But then, I've also read published newspaper/magazine journalists that are loony, as well as some that are sharp as a tack. Bloggers ARE journalists. Some are good journalists and some aren't. This is the new world, folks. I don't need to remind you all that technology and the internet removes the entry barrier to just about everything, including writing and publishing news stories. Just because a journalist isn't getting paid by The New York Times or Newsweek doesn't mean he/she isn't a journalist. It's the same concept that everyone who creates a video and posts it on YouTube is a filmmaker and producer. It doesn't mean that the movies are any good, but then, a Hollywood studio production doesn't mean a movie will be any good either. There are two questions being asked here. One, Is blogging changing journalism as we know it? the answer is absolutely, and for the better. There's no freer press than the blogosphere. But, just like any and all other media, it must be filtered by the reader. Question two, Should laws for protecting traditional journalists extend to bloggers? My answer for this is a little more complicated. I certainly believe in freedom of speech and the press--that those who speak must not be harassed by the government. But I do not believe in shield laws--that those who speak should be protected from the consequences of other laws that are broken, like obstruction of justice. -Wes Larson

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

it's kind of like "can" or "helps" or "fights".

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

was William Randolph Hearst, an ideologue, not a journalist. Strangely, over a century later, the words are different but the sentiments are the same: [i]I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe - I believe what I believe is right.[/i]

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You missed a word. You saw what you wanted to see and not what was actually there. You Need To Read [b]Every[/b] Word.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Integrity and competition is supposed to keep journalists "honest". Since it's become somewhat obvious as of late that integrity and competition seems to be lacking in the profession, blogging to some degree is filling the void. Nature abhors vacuums.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

or another quote.... "You furnish the photos, I'll furnish the war". Gee, do ya think we could have used a blogger or two to keep the Globe from instigating the Spanish-American war?

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

No truth in there whatsoever. Much better to take the word of Ken and Barbie reading the latest press-release from Micro$oft. Ken and Barbie say that Windows Vista is just super! Go out and get it today!

jdclyde
jdclyde

I EARNED MY GRADE! :D

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

I loved him... He was the hardest taskmaster you ever wanted to meet. I learned more from him than any dozen teachers before or since.

jdclyde
jdclyde

At first, I have a tendency to drive them nuts. There was one years ago that would blow his stack if you called him by his first name, instead of "Doctor". I was always respectful when speaking to him, but I never referred to him as anything but "Stan". Yeah, he was a condescending ass that would talk down to everyone. Because I never was disrespectful, yet didn't allow him to place himself over me (not THAT way Mae!) he did accept me as an equal. It really was funny the one day he was going over how to do a power point for the presentation we had to do for his "Business Communications" class. He followed up by saying "If you have any problems or questions, just ask me, or jeff, and we can help you with it". Everyone just stared at me because he had NEVER talked well of anyone, let alone speak of someone in the same breath as himself. B-) This is the doctor that came in the first day of business communication and said "nobody gets an "A" in my class". And no one did. But it was because he did something todays teachers won't do, and that is realize that EVERY mistake on a business communication is potentially fatal for a business, and so much as a missing comma and he would nail you for it. I learned more about having an eye for detail in his writing class than I did in any of my programming classes.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I own a recent eMachine(buily after the Gateway takeover) and its a pretty good quality machine. Has a Mach speed MB thats great. Most of the components are pretty good. The only issue I had was when I tried to put a high end video card in - it generated a lot of heat and the case only had one fan. From what I've read they have one of the higher customer satisfaction ratings. James

jdclyde
jdclyde

the choice is theirs and I have learned not to take offense, nor to think that their refusal to follow my professional advice that they asked for makes any future problems they have of being my concern. Packard Bell and eMachines were perfect examples of this. When I would agree to work on them, (and old compaqus) my price would be double because I knew up front they would be a pain to work on. Some people that burned me on this were told up front to never ask me for advice again, because if they had no intention of following it, it was insulting to me and my skills. Go see the geek squad for $80 an hour. They will get to it, within the week. I wonder if there is anyone here that HASN'T encountered that? I doubt it. oh, and I have your pin.... :p :x

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Why am I thinking of that episode of The Simpsons where Bart is made to write on the blackboard... "I will not expose the ignorance of the faculty"

faradhi
faradhi

And you know that is something I was trying to avoid. On the critical thinking department. The schools have quit teaching critical thinking because it makes their job harder. I was taught by my brother, who was 6 years older. Any position I took he would take the opposite and make me defend it. Therefore, when I was in school I was in trouble a lot an most of it was for "Questioning authority." Heck even in college, the professors tend to hate it when you question them on a topic.

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

did I accidentally leave skype on? You just repeated a conversation that happened on Sunday evening...... - also a very unhappy bunny that we won't even take the back off it, as its' still under warranty. Why won't he send it back under warranty? It'll take too long, he needs it tomorrow..... ohdearwhatapitynevermindthat'llteachhim. :p GG ah. I didn't [b] really [/b] leave skype on, did I? Was pinning up new dress trousers.... ooops ....... eeek... :0 that WAS a pin I felt, wasn't it??!! ]:)

jdclyde
jdclyde

but I always knew it existed. [i]"Confirmation bias occurs when we selectively notice or focus upon evidence which tends to support the things we already believe or want to be true while ignoring that evidence which would serve to disconfirm those beliefs or ideas."

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

That is the TRUE risk of blogs... You get some idiot who is convinced of his opinion and seeks out support, even if it's from the flat-earth society's website. It would be nice if they started to teach critical thinking in the schools again.

jdclyde
jdclyde

they see one in an ad somewhere and ask your opinion. you tell them not to get that, give them reasons why and then steer them to a more reliable system. They turn around and get the one from the ad. They didn't want your opinion on what they should get, they wanted you to jerk off their ego and tell them how smart they were for picking out this department store pc all by themselves. then they get pissed at me when they have a problem with the crap department store computer, and I tell them no, I will not fix it, take it back to where they got it from. oh, you didn't get good support there? hmmm, too bad you didn't buy this other system that has someone standing behind it..... suck to be you.....

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

given that... let me amend what I said. I would rather read a blog on a subject that I am interested/knowledgable in than read a report from a reporter who is unfamiliar with the subject. The irony here is that this is a bit of an 'everything old is new again'. News organizations used to keep contributors who were knowlegable in a given field as reporters/journalists. Now, the only place you see that is the meteorologist. I wonder if the mainstream media will eventually respond to the blogs by going back to that old standby of having resident specialists rather than the "ken and barbie" types.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'd rather read the report that does the best job of explaining the issue. The doctor may be a lousy communicator (after all, it's not his specialty), and the reporter interviewing him may have been covering medical issues for years. In that case I think the reporter is going to do a better job of presenting the story in a way understandable by those of us with no medical background. This applies regardless of the reporter's medium, be it print, broadcast, or web. By the way, I am in no way saying web logs can't be journalism. I'm also not saying print or broadcast media are inherently superior. However, I question a web logger expecting the same court treatment traditionally awarded to journalists just because he calls himself a reporter. For me the debate is where to draw the line. I'm sure the same question was batted around when radio news broadcasts began to gain on print, and again when television became widespread. Okay, I think I'm done mucking around with this.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]Blogs exist because they fill a need that isn't being provided by so-called journalists.[/i] The most important of which is reporting that which [b]isn't[/b] being reported by the mainstream news.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

You said it better than I could. I would rather read a doctor's opinion of a medical issue, than a reporter's opinion. ditto that for lawyers and legal issues, IT folk and IT issues, et cetera ad nauseum

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...the "bubbleheads behind the anchor desks" and their networks go to great lenghts and expense to promote themselves not as teleprompter readers, but as "journalists". Since they so vigourously promote themselves as such, then they should be expected to live up to that standard. "Jayson Blair" was a living example of everything wrong with "afirmative action" as promoted by his employer, and one of the nation's greatest advocates of "affirmative action", the New York Times".

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Forgive my forgetting his name. I only have 64K of built-in RAM, and it takes me 56K to run Heart-Lung-Colon OS 1.0.

weslarson
weslarson

Journalists are primarily writers, rather than experts on any subject. Bloggers, on the other hand, are usually experts in their subject first, and writers second. The mainstream media often don't have their own source material. News stories are often written from a scientific study or governmental report, or (a video or transcript of) a conference. These same studies, reports, and transcripts are (usually) publicly available. Good bloggers will 1) more accurately UNDERSTAND and thereby explain the results and come to logical conclusions and 2) link back to the original report/data/research/video so that the reader can see for themselves. In my opinion, this is where traditional journalists usually fail miserably, and where bloggers excel. And on the other side, I've also read blogs by journalists. Good blogger/journalists find news, interview key people, etc., etc.--they do everything that a good journalist AND blogger does. This is where news is headed. Real journalists are becoming bloggers, and good bloggers are becoming journalists (writing for blogs) -Wes Larson

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Jayson Blair was a reporter for the New York Times who was booted for fabricating news. In some instances, he was so brazen as to fabricate reports from cities he was never in. As far as the field reporters, like Blair, they are less and less journalists. Think of every time there is a hurricane. Every network sends some poor shlub to stand in an area that's been evacuated. The shlub gets buffetted and battered by the storm, nearly blown away all to give the impression that the reporting is somehow more accurate that way. Blogs exist because they fill a need that isn't being provided by so-called journalists.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You didn't answer my question; you substituted one of your own. Remember, the bubbleheads behind the anchor desks aren't writing what they read. Inaccuracy in what they read is the responsibility of the writers, editors, and producers. Anchors may have started their careers engaging in more active forms of journalism, but like many fields, the higher you go, the further you get from why you wanted into the field. Also, anchors rarely do more than just read lead-ins for stories covered by people doing the work the anchors used to do. Anchors are disposable; it's the field reporters who are closer to practicing journalism. I'm sorry, I don't know who Jayson Blair is. Don't take my comments as a defense of television news. I don't watch any of it any more, either local stations, traditional broadcast networks, or cable news networks. It's not a question of accuracy as much as one of overall content. Paris Hilton shouldn't be news. Neither should a missing coed in the Caribbean who wouldn't be covered if she wasn't white, blonde, and drunk. If it doesn't impact multiple states, I don't think it has a place in a national forum. There's too much content that I don't consider worth my time. The 24 hour networks are the worst, since they have the most time to fill and are therefore most likely to resort to filler. I prefer my left-wing commie pinko bleeding hearts on NPR for national coverage. I know what their biases are, and most stories run five or ten minutes, allowing time for deeper coverage. I prefer my local newspaper for state and regional reporting.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Watch the next news broadcast with a critical eye, especially the political reporting. How about Jayson Blair? "All the news I can make up, they print?" Ah, and that 'journalistic photographer' for reuters, who photoshopped more damage. Then there is the infamous Rathergate.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

I will trust a doctor's blog over a journalist's report on a medical issue I will trust a TR blog over a journalist's report on an IT issue I will trust a Lawyer's blog over a journalist's report on a legal issue

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If a web logger presents no source material of his own, only links back to the source material of others, should he be considered a journalist? I think it does matter if the links to original material go back to a traditional journalism source. In this case, if web logging does destroy traditional journalism, what will web loggers have left to link to?

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Sorry, I jumped around a bit there... please allow me to clarify a bit. 1)Nizkor is a logical fallacies site. www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies 2)A logical presentation != true, as one can progress logically from a false premise. 3)A presentation that is full of manipulations may contain truth, but is useless as a reference because it can twist such truth to the extent where it can not be trusted. the best example of this is: www.dhmo.org/facts.html which preaches on the ills of DHMO. There is not a single factually incorrect statement on that website, but everything it leads you to believe it patently false. This one does it jokingly, but there are plenty that do it deliberately and with malicious intent. Thus, the need to visit nizkor or other logical fallacy sites.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If I understand you, then if something is clearly and logically presented, it's believable? And if it's presented poorly, it's patently false? I'm sure that isn't what you mean, but that's how it comes across. I don't what you mean by Nizkor, so apparently you haven't infected me with anything. Maybe this is another personal issue I have with web logs. If a source outside the web log is cited, I don't think it's too much to expect a link. Hey, now I have my first one criteria to identify a journalistic web log: no link, no value. (Present conversation excluded.)

dmennie
dmennie

Having once worked at Gartner I am not surprised to discover (from your post) that they were involved in the Y2K panic. What a zoo! Filled with the self-important dispensing misinformation and charging top dollar for it to boot. Even more amazing, nobody ever holds them accountable when the "predictions" bomb out. H.B. Barnum would have loved this place!

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Which would YOU trust to be more accurate? 1)Ken or Barbie reading their teleprompter about an IT issue 2)A blog on TR addressing it?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The Y2K panic was initiated by the drones at Gartner trying to drum up business for their partners. The drones at the news desks then took it several steps further.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

The doctor addressing the report was Dr Ronald hoffman. www.drhoffman.com His analysis was that the facts were not only spun, but patantly false.... more relevant to our industry was the Y2K panic spread by ignorant ken and barbie dolls.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

proves my point better than any other citation.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]Blogging often contains more facts than journalistic reporting.[/i] Your example does not address your primary statement. "Spun" facts are still facts; the difference is in how they are presented. In this case, the presentation was intended to sensationalize a topic to potentially increase viewers. Although I don't disagree with your opinion of "Ken and Barbie" newscasters.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

at the same time the internet has been cutting into readership of newspapers, they have been cutting their journalist staff. so may be self fulfilling prophesy. In the end, if bloggers work for a reputable org they are in-line and monitored for lies and 'out there' behaviour to some degree just like journalists are kept to the 'facts' as seen by their parent org to some degree or it reflects badly on the parent org and they're fired. Independent bloggers have no such controls and must build a 'rep' or become 'irrelevant'. And some will play loose with the facts. Sadly others will see 'facts' that agree with their position and use these as references. This happened even before blogging with popular pundits such as Rush. In the end, blogging is invaluable as a preservation of free speech. Will bloggers have the effect on the mainstream journalists do? probably not. Witness Newsweek printing that Pentagon tortured prisoners. It caused riots in Pakistan, where idiot fanatics killed themselves. Newsweek retracted this even tho the Pentagon later admitted this. A few here on TR decried newspaper printing this, with the ridiculous argument that the newspaper directly caused the deaths due to telling the truth. I don't buy that.. To me that would be a ghastly curtailment of free speech and smacks of misguided patriotism somehow.. If only a blogger had printed this, it likely would have been ignored and the truth never would have come out.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

The image that journalists are somehow above the fray has been unmasked by the bloggers who took down Dan Rather. The question before the existance of bloggers was always "who watches the watchment"? ANSWER: Bloggers. I LIKE the fact that there are folks out there with axes to grind. It keeps the propagandists on their toes. You must admit, it's a lot harder to shut down a blog than it is to shut down a newspaper, ala Hugo Chavez.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Most of what I've read here indicates web logs are subject to the same liabilities as "traditional journalism". That indicates to me that web logs are not going to "destroy journalism as we know it", but that they -are- journalism as we know it. No better or worse, just with a cheaper, easier distribution method. People are people. Get a group of journalists and a group of web loggers. You'll have the same percentage of shills, hacks, heroes, experts, and idiots in each group. Choice of medium doesn't (and shouldn't) automatically confer sainthood, sinnership, or journalistic credentials.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

bias, accuracy and being 'bought off'. Dan Rather sold his soul for his polical agenda, Jayson Blair made things up, and there are various other degrees of bias, laziness and subterfuge. Armstrong Williams wrote favorable columns while taking money from Republicans.... Shills have ALWAYS existed and it's not something that came into existance with blogs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm sorry for being so dense, but what do those names have to do with Dr. Dij's comment?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

At apotheon's suggestion I was looking at Wikinews yesterday. (The first thing I learned was there's a difference between wikinews.COM and wikinews.ORG, but that's a minor point.) When I hit the right site, I notice an article about North Korea welcoming U.N. nuke inspectors. It was shorter than I'd hoped, but it included several source links. I didn't click any because they all appeared to point to Korean newspapers. This made me wonder how many countries have someone with a government job to post Wikinews stories favorable to that government's viewpoints, then link back to government-run news media. I am not saying this is the case with the article I read. I'm just wondering how often this happens.

$$$$$$$$$$
$$$$$$$$$$

To be part of the public informing/opinion-forming process called "journalism" only requires a journal, and an audience. The "standards" of "journalism" in a free country are whatever the audience will pay for.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

Someone who has these three elements of professionalism: (1) a body of erudite knowledge, a set of attitudes, and a technique which are applied to the service of mankind through an educated group; (2) a standard of success measured by accomplishment in serving the needs of the people rather than by personal gain; and (3) a system of control over the practice of the calling and the education of its practitioners through associations and codes of ethics. From "Nonsense, Common Sense, and the Professional NCO", Senior Master Sergeant George H. Day. http://www.airpower.au.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1978/jul-aug/day.html. 19 Jun 2007. If you don't all three areas, you're not a professional.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

I think the true hatred of bloggers came from "Rathergate". The thought that one of the icons of journalism could be taken out by (insert prejorative here) bloggers who didn't have to rise through the pecking order that is journalism.