If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard someone snicker when I say something about blogging, then you know that I could quit my day job and live a nice, wealthy life. That’s why the argument of blogging versus journalism tends to fall into areas of white noise to me, mostly because I’ve been taught, by journalism professors, to not care anymore.
Still, there are those days when it gets me thinking, and it is more to the fact when journalists are the ones who are raising a stink over the legitimacy of this new medium. Such is the case that you can get more details on from a post that Raul made a few days ago.
It takes me back to the short time where I was once a journalism student. Wavering in and out of studies that would give me a better grasp on an educational background in broadcasting, I found myself surrounded by professors who saw print as the only worthwhile medium that one should dedicate themselves to in the realm of media.
Now, before I start to say anything negative, there is absolute truth in the need to develop a solid background in writing, and working in radio for as long as I have, I can assure you that there are folks who have missed this step in their career ladder in broadcasting. Point number one in your journey into TV or radio should be to learn how to write, and then you can focus on looking or sounding good doing it. Some improv acting wouldn’t hurt as well, but I digress.
While knee deep in my college radio days, there was never any precedence given to our little station in relation to the school of journalism. In fact, the head of the department was once quoted as saying “radio is a waste of time” and KRUI was “just a place for kids to play radio.” No matter how much we asked them to do more in terms of developing a relationship between our organization and the school of journalism, the heads of the department always blew us off, pouring their crop of eager kids into the school paper.
In the world I find myself in today, this mentality still exists in some shape or form, except replace radio with blogging.
Average, everyday people now have the ability to publish content online to a worldwide audience and instantly have their material syndicated, archived, searchable, and shared. Their thoughts can be timely, thought provoking, or news breaking.
The other side of the coin is that a blogger’s integrity can be questionable. This can be due to a lack of fact checking, poor writing style, method of conveying the story properly, and so on.
However, it’s not out of the question for a journalist to have those same faults. Retractions get printed in the newspaper on a daily basis, admitting an error and correcting it, so no matter how well you were schooled in the methods of journalism, poor reporting methods are not rare in traditional media.
When it comes down to the question of blogging killing journalism, there is a point where you have to pull away from the concept of which one is better than the other. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, but the final resting point is respectability.
If a newspaper prints consistently incorrect facts, you can’t trust that as a legitimate news source. The same can be said about any blog. If an author presents material that goes beyond something that you disagree with (i.e. erroneous facts or plagiarized content), then you probably will stray away from that website. Just as there is the concept of journalist integrity, blogs have the same responsibility to their audience.
The thing is, this is the Internet, so not everyone has to abide by these rules. Blogs have different flavors, and people will generate whatever they want, however they want. The same can be said about magazines or other various forms of print media. It’s up to the audience to find it and decide if it’s worth the consumption.
Bad bloggers hurt blogging. Bad journalists hurt journalism. Journalism would love nothing more than to kill blogging, but you can’t give someone a voice and then take it away.
The other day, I heard about a fellow with a rich career as a journalist say that “all blogs are bullshit.” It’s that statement that makes me flashback to those days of fighting to be recognized by that school of journalism. I also see this argument never having any conclusion.
I can’t say that blogging is killing journalism as much as journalism is trying to take down something that threatens the foundation it is built upon. Instead of trying to coexist, only one can be the better.
Like I said before, my thoughts on this topic have given away to about as much excitement as watching golf on TV. It’s not worth my time, and I’d rather focus on giving myself more voice about the world versus what I’m told to believe by a handful, in terms of the world’s population, journalists. I take satisfaction is hearing from the people who live where the news is happening, while it’s happening.