I’ve been coming around to the opinion that bloggers are just journalists and that the oft-discussed distinctions aren’t meaningful. Let’s just say I’m in the minority. Old-school readers can’t stand these folks for their perceived lack of standards, and the new crowd (my panelists were no younger than I am) wants nothing to do with fuddy-duddy readers. I’m willing to make the same prediction about blogging that I made 10 years ago about “Internet” companies: In 10 years there won’t be an distinction. Blogging will be part of the multi-media spectrum.
So let’s repeat this once more.
Being a blogger does not make you a journalist any more than being a journalist makes you a blogger.
Journalists can (and more and more, they do) blog. People who have blogs are not typically writing journalism but have the opportunity — thanks to the technology — to perform acts of journalism and see them reach a wide public.
Lashinsky wants to erase the line between “journalist” to “blogger,” but it’s not a line, it’s a classic four-quadrant graph. There’s an X axis from “not blogging at all” to “blogging all the time,” and there’s a Y axis from, say, “writes the equivalent of a private diary” to “writes exclusively about public affairs.”
Calling blogging “part of the multimedia spectrum” speaks to the pro journalist’s perspective, for whom the blog is just one more form to explore. That’s a relatively minor aspect of blogging; the real excitement lies in the far wider reaches of the blogosphere that are filled with non-journalists who are beginning to figure out that journalism is no longer a closed guild.
I tried to explain this when I started my blog in July, 2002, and still think the explanation holds:
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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