Thursday, July 15, 2010

is a car a hat?

Yesterday, a reader sent me a link: "Is a blogger a journalist?"

It is an interesting question.  With practical impacts.

The traditional media began to implode years ago.  News channels have shifted more than the Mississippi delta.

The first big change was television news.  For decades, the anchors on the three broadcast channels ruled the news roost.  They determined content, tone, and perception.  If Walter Cronkite said it, that was what families discussed at the dinner table.

Cable television changed the news scene.  News now came from a variety u of sources.  Some with widely-varying views.

A similar change occurred with newspapers.  The internet offers a cornucopia of sources.  Some good.  Some bad.  Some unspeakably insipid.  As a result of all these news sources, the statistics on print newspaper readers have hemorrhaged -- even on the newspaper internet sites.

And may I mention the impact some blog reporters had on the 2008 elections?  I suspect former Senator Allen wishes voters had never heard of YouTube.

One source for new news is -- right here.  Blogs and bloggers.  What the communication professionals are now calling "community journalism." 

In some cases, bloggers join together as sources for a larger entity.  For example, amongst our Mexico bloggers, posts authored by John Calypso and Felipe Zapata appear on GlobalPost.

The author of the essay answers his question -- whether bloggers are journalists -- "[s]ome are, some never will be and an increasing number are reaching a point of convergence."

I like that phrase.  Point of convergence.  I thinks it means some of us in the blogosphere write what might be considered journalism lite.

Most of us are not journalists --in the newspaper sense.  We write about what we see -- filtered though our perceptions and interests.  At times, our only prime audience is us. 

If my blog was part of a newspaper, where would it be located?  Certainly not the news, sports, or the entertainment sections.  Maybe the editorial page -- sometimes.  More likely --part of a Sunday supplement.

Journalist?  Probably not -- for me.

Just put me down as a converger tapping out essays -- and marking time to get back to Mexico.


norm said...

I read the blogs about Latin America to gather information, to get a feel for what is going on-on the ground, how people live, costs, culture, laws and history. Every news story has more than one side to it, reporting by its nature is a form of advertising for one idea or another, I like blog reporting because bloggers tell it like they see it, where they live.

Leah Flinn said...

In the sense that I have always kept a jounal, I am a journalist. But I have no aims of writing for a mass news corporation, or even to a mass audience.

That said, I do write with the intent to share my thoughts with others. A blog is made better with reader/writer interaction.

Felipe said...

Asking if a blogger is a journalist is like asking if a man is Mexican or if he´s a genius. Some are. Some are not.

Most are not.

Calypso said...

Interesting question. From my schooling I would have to say that most often Bloggers are not journalists – certainly not professional in the sense that professionals are constantly battling deadlines, having to adhere to professional and ethical standards, are not under the thumb of Napoleonic editors who control every word based on their own taste, and finally most journalists hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, English, or political science.

However the lines are becoming hazy for a few.

Perhaps Bloggers are more closely related to columnists? The columnist writes copy that can sometimes be strongly opinionated.

John Wilpers the Global Blog Coordinator for Global Post writes, “[We] recognized that there is a lot of terrific content being created around the world by excellent writers who are experts in their field or who are simply well-informed or passionate about a subject or country. That on-the-ground, grassroots-level reporting adds to the professional work of our correspondents in each country, giving GlobalPost readers a complete picture of life, events, trends, and peculiarities in each of dozens of countries worldwide.”

I personally write about living in Mexico as an expatriate. I strive to stay on that topic and to produce valid current information (occasionally with my strong opinions ;-) which includes reading here (my Blog)is optional. ;-)

What can I say - Stay Tuned - or not.

Jonna said...

We should all strive for the perfection that was Herb Caen...

What has struck me about the change in how news is delivered is that there is less diversity. At least with Walter Cronkite he made an attempt to be impartial and whether you agreed with him or not you heard his point of view. Now, the plethora of sources that we all thought would lead to a much more informed world has instead been reduced because people read only the sources that agree with them. That frightens me and that is what I think has led to this ever widening political division in the US.

Calypso said...

oops neabt to write, "...are under the thumb of Napoleonic editors who control every word based on their own taste,...

I need a proof reader I guess.

Steve Cotton said...

Norm -- And bloggers certainly fit that description.

Leah -- You do a great job of sharing those views.

Felipe -- At most, I will claim "sharer of views."

Calypso -- No Napoleons here. We are a Bone-apart.

Jonna -- I agree. Most people seldom read anything that disagrees with their own opinions. And that is too bad. We simply do not grow that way.