Should bloggers be considered journalists? That is a question that traditional journalists, new bloggers and internet users have pondered since the introduction of the blogging tool that allows anyone in the world to communicate their views, stories, and information for a massive audience.
Rettberg makes a great point in chapter four. It is really difficult to categorize all mainstream reporters/writers from bloggers. There are many reasons for this.
- More and more mainstream members of the media are turning to blogs to build a large and loyal audience.
- Average people can break news simply by being witnesses to a major event and blogging about it. For example, I could be at a game as a fan. My seats are in the upper deck and I see that a player has just gotten hurt. That’s where I can find out who the player is and immediately tweet the information to my followers. My followers are now just as informed, as they would have been if they saw a “beat-writer” tweet or post about it first.
- There are journalists like Christopher Allbritton, who gather their own funds and travel to a place (IRAQ) where there is a story of interest. A lot of these journalists will accept contributions from their loyal readers. Is there much of a difference between that and a reporter for CNN?
- Some simply follow mainstream media and gather information. Once they gather all the information needed, they can add analysis with a more pointed angle.
Where bloggers and traditional mainstream reporters do usually differ is credibility. If I am on twitter, I trust established news sources much more than a blog network. Even though the blog network might have the correct information, I still trust the mainstream media outlet more in terms of having correct information.
Mainstream media also doesn’t worry about trying to be seen. They are going to be seen because they are one of the major media outlets. Blogs, on the other hand, sometimes use unnecessary pseudonyms to become controversial and attract more hits to their site.
In the end, blogging and traditional journalism will intersect.
Credibility is tied in with verification. Kovach and Rosentiel discuss the importance and application of verification within journalism. A journalist must be able to sift through plain fiction and gossip and decide what is true.
Kovach and Rosentiel believe that verification is so important that they think it is the essence of journalism. If verification is not important, then journalism becomes entertainment and propaganda.
Typically, blogs are not as objective as the mainstream media. However, it is a prerequisite to being a journalist.
I grew up as a Green Bay Packers fan. I still am a fan recovering from a disappointing loss in San Francisco last Sunday afternoon. However, I’ve also covered them as a working journalist. I knew that objectivity was a must. I could no longer be a fan. I had to be critical of everything and look for the most important story that my readers wanted to read. I wanted to make sure I was right and objective about what I wrote about.
The media is changing. Journalists care about being first to report major stories. It makes people famous and in a few cases, a lot of money and recognition. Rushed verification tends to allow wrong information to leak out. That was unacceptable years ago but it’s becoming more acceptable with the rise of the Internet.
Journalism feels like it’s becoming more complicated. Kovach and Rosentiel have a method for journalists to follow.
- Never add anything that was not there.
- Never deceive your audience
- Be transparent
- Rely on YOUR OWN reporting.
- Exercise humility. (THIS ONE IS ESPECIALLY TRUE)
A reporter should be as clear and concise as a possible. The more complicated the process, the more room for error.
- Would you rather be first or the most accurate?
- It’s possible for bloggers to jump up and become “pros”. Why distinguish the two? There are bad bloggers and great bloggers. The same goes with mainstream reporters.
- Would you consider a columnist a professional blogger/analyst?