Blogs have become an Internet trend story — probably because there are so few other Internet trends right now, and most of those are too depressing to dwell on. Trend stories work best when reporters can drum up some conflict. Thus we have the War between the Bloggers and the Journalists.
It’s not much of a fight. Proponents of blogging every now and then display some of the old “We will conquer the world” spirit that drove so many Internet visionaries. That presses some journalists’ buttons, and they respond with reflexive dismissal and disdain. It’s like old times!
But aside from the occasional outburst of overheated rhetoric, there is no sensible reason for bloggers and journalists to have any particular animosity towards each other. The two enterprises are complementary.
I don’t believe blogging will kill off old-fashioned journalism any more than the continued success of Time and the New York Times will stop anyone from blogging. A reporter can (under the right circumstances) do things a blogger can’t — like spend months investigating a single story exposing, say, how big media companies got in bed with a bogus anti-drug ad campaign. (There’s nothing to stop a blogger from doing this, but I have yet to see it happen, and it’s unlikely to happen a lot, since most of us need to pay the rent somehow, and long-form investigative journalism takes too much time to do as an on-the-side thing.)
Conversely, bloggers can do things most reporters can’t — like updating at whim around the clock, or sitting in a conference hall posting comments directly to the Web. (Some professional journalists can do that, too.)
Bloggers can be journalists any time they practice journalism by actually trying to find out the truth about a story. A journalist can be a blogger by installing some blogging software and beginning to post. These words should be labels for activities, not badges of tribal fealty.
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