Is blogging killing journalism?

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.
Continue reading “Is blogging killing journalism?”

Blogathon 2008

Blogathon 2008 has kicked off and it is in full swing. As I sit here right now, I’m watching Dances With Wolves with Duane as he prepares to make post number nine or ten. To be honest, I’m getting pretty sleepy that I’m not sure where he’s at in terms of numbers.

Rual is here as well, firing away like a rabbit, making post after post with ease. I guess that’s easy for a guy who has a mind wrapped around academia. I recall those days, but it’s more common to find myself wrapped up in computer network cables and a brain full of code due to the number of projects that I have going on.

That’s pretty much why I’m not doing Blogathon this year. I like being the moral support and supplier of caffeine to the troops, aside from the occasional guest post for various Blogathon folks.

Rebecca has been working hard to get this years Blogathon organized, and you can see a list of the participants here. Duane has taken things one step further and created a RSS feed for all the Vancouver bloggers that are participating in this year’s fund raiser.

I admire there efforts and determination to make one post every thirty minutes for 24 hours. Trust me, if you think blogging, or even writing for that matter, is hard, you haven’t experienced Blogathon.

Also, if you feel like you want to contribute, think about making a donation to any of the bloggers and their charity of choice. Comments are great, but the real reason these people are sacrificing their weekend to blog nearly nonstop is to raise money for a good cause. It’s not just for the sake of being geeky.

CommonCraft: Blogs in Plain English

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Lee LeFever at NorthernVoice last year, and he has since taken his endeavors with online communities to new levels along with his wife, Sachi. They’ve been producing a series of videos to help explain technologies of today’s internet for those who like simple explanations in plain english, such as wikis, social networking, and social bookmarking.

In the video below, CommonCraft looks to help explain what blogs are in plain english, helping those who have little to no knowledge about the medium. It’s a good watch for those who have a simple, basic idea about what blogs are, and the topic is a good one to follow my recent post about blogging as a medium in general.

Where blogging fits in with traditional media

I was having a conversation with a co-worker the other day about how new media and blogging interacts with today’s, traditional media. Fascinating topics for discussion, I know, but the interesting fact is that we are two people who currently work in the realms of radio broadcasting. Obviously, I’m a proponent of the medium, and the other person is one who is hesitant.

NV07 - Blogging 101 #2 It broke down to the way bloggers and those who read blogs will hold such truth and validity with everything that is put into the blogosphere. I had to agree that it is concerning, if not scary, how this can be true is some circumstances. However, I also reminded her that there are those people who will do nothing but rely on mainstream media, paying attention to only certain outlets. Of course, the easy examples of this would be someone who only watches FoxNews opposed to the variety of TV news outlets that are available to most cable television subscribers.

They had a tough time disputing that, so I broke down my thought on this premise even further. I explained how it should be our job, as bloggers, to instill an element of checks and balances upon traditional media so that many viewpoints and aspects to a story can be examined, if not built upon.

Rebecca wrote about a post a few weeks ago about an article by Chris McCosky of The Detroit News when he said, “Bloggers just aren’t journalists“.

Bloggers and personal, non-journalistic Web sites are starting to tick me off. Look, I appreciate and respect that in America, everybody has an opinion, especially on sports. And I respect everybody’s right to share their thoughts with anybody who happens to own a computer via blogs.

But people, let’s not confuse what random fans and wanna-be pundits are tossing out there with legitimate reporting. The line is getting way too blurry now between Internet noise and actual journalism. It’s actually getting to the point now where some (too many) of the bloggers are using cyberspace to discredit the legitimate media.

Now I am not saying all legitimate media or every reporter is 100 percent credible. Nor am I saying every blogger is out to discredit legitimate media. But the distinction between the two must be clearer.

Journalism employs trained professionals. We actually have to go to school for this stuff. We take our jobs seriously. There are rules and standards that we are beholden to. There are ethics involved. We actually talk to, in person, the people we write about. [detnews]

Session: For the record, I’ve studied a little bit in the ways of journalism school, and there are elements from that schooling that I maintain today. However, I’ve known people who have walked away with journalism degrees that whole heartedly scare me as to their journalistic integrity and the ability to do their jobs respectably. That doesn’t make me an expert, but it certainly gives me reason to question those who have the duty of telling me everything it is that I need to know.

I take my news from a variety of mainstream media sources, such as, but not limited to, the BBC, CNN, Guardian, Reuters, AP, New York Times, and, yes, even FoxNews. I like to see stories from multiple angles and derive my own conclusions, not just what “trained journalists” are trained, and told by their editors, to report on.

I’m also familiar with the structure that certain journalists use to report the news. There is your standard formula with the way you structure your intro, presented a certain set of information to setup your story. After that, you have to get your quote from someone close to the story. Toss in a deadline to a reporter and the number of people in the pool to get that needed quote gets a little slim. After that, there’s the extra back story at the tail end to give insight and let you know if there is more to tune into for next week.

Certainly there is need for delicate training for how one refines themselves to achieve this mastery, and I say that non-mockingly. However, in this era of big media where less means more, the small amount of journalists out there have a very large world to cover.

After that, blogs offer something deeper than the facts and figures of a story. They bring out qualitative information, as well as the quantitative, that provide various viewpoints that a journalist might not be able to provide. On top of that, bloggers can serve as way to watch journalists to make sure they are doing a worthwhile job in their reporting.

The Crazy Canucks on CKNW talkin' bout Podcasting
Photo credit: miss604 on Flickr

As a blogger, I am a source, but I’m hardly the source. Journalists are exactly the same thing. If you argue your viewpoint on an event, you have to consider where you got your information. it’s no different than a game of telephone where the facts and details can change as they are relayed and published.

Trust me, I’ve been there and seen it so many times on a personal level. Last spring when The Crazy Canucks got a lot of press coverage, the information that I would provide to journalists were stretched or mistaken for half-truths or something completely opposite. It’s human nature to make errors, and I believe that as a collective group, feedback can help put the information back together into something that is much more factual than what a very select, few people can tell you.

It’s not as much about discredit as it is making sure that what is said is a valid statement. Even more so, it’s about having a voice, and I’ll be damned if I or anyone should have to go to school to be able to have that.

Blog find: NHL Tournament of Logos

NHL Tournament of Logos With the new RBK jerseys being launched all around the NHL for this coming season, there is a lot stirring in terms of discussions about team logos. Enter the NHL Tournament of Logos.

I’ve been pretty fascinated with the material they have been covering about the entire league, and the tournament over who has the best logo in the league is entertaining. I love how the site has been as nearly mesmerized over the coming Canucks new jersey and/or logo, whatever the hell it’s going to be, as the rest of us fans have become. It’s also opened my eyes to what the rest of the league has been toying with, not to mention fan concepts.

Watch for more teams to unveil their new looks over the coming month, and this site will help you keep tabs on it..

Blogs are just another realm in the vast world of media

Josh Wolf made a post on CNet titled, “Like television, radio and print, blogs are just a medium“. The whole read is a good summary of the things I tell people when I start talking about blogs and podcasting in relation to what traditional media does in the time of new media.

When radio was first pioneered, print journalists were quick to dismiss it as inferior. This same scenario repeated itself with the advent of television and again with the rise of technologies that allowed solo journalists to produce their own stories single-handedly. As blogs and other community media become more popular and more relevant, the assault on this new medium continues to grow.

Michael Skube’s recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times provides a reasonable critique on the blogosphere but neglects to look at the larger picture. He points out that many blogs are nothing more than commentary and suggests that many of these blogs are “noisy with disputation, manifesto-like postings and an unbecoming hatred of enemies real and imagined.” While I can’t argue with this conclusion, his analysis misses the fact that blogs have broken a number of important stories in recent years and fails to mention the non-news that the establishment media finds itself focusing on with alarming frequency. [cnet]

In the last few years, I’ve had a lot of discussions on this topic. It’s really difficult for some people to grasp onto the notion of there being worthwhile content that can be derived and coexist with what traditional media does, if not enhance it. What pains me more is the dismissal of new media as being not worthwhile. To that, it really becomes a matter of not knocking it until you try it.

Be sure to read the rest of the post. Wolf takes on the old with the new, explaining strengths and weaknesses to both sides of the coin.

A job well done

The late night home stretch

A real trooper. She raised just over $400 in about 36 hours during Blogathon 2007, and there were many followers throughout the whole experience. I wasn’t able to be around for most of it, nor could I stay awake till the bitter end like she did. Still, way to go, babe.

All the way from Smithers, B.C.

Sean, aka Zanstorm, is on holidays with his wife, taking a road trip through southern B.C and the island. I’ve been reading his hockey blog, most for the Canucks content and not the Leaf stuff, for a long time. Waiting For Stanley is clever, funny, passionate, and very informed, even for a fan who is up in the interior.

Hockey Bloggers Not-so-Anonymous
Photo courtesy of miss604 on Flickr

Sean has been on The Crazy Canucks just once, but with the coming season on the horizon, watch for him to make another appearance or three. We’ve also told him that he needs to really get down here for a game.

This was the first time that Sean has ever stepped beyond the realms of meeting people online and meeting them in real life. Sadly, we were still pretty groggy from the late night Blogathon adventure. Next time, we’ll get hockey crazy, Vancouver style.

Hope you enjoy the vacation, Sean! Come back soon!

Duane’s Photo of the Day

Duane started doing something pretty cool the other day. On his site, he added a Photo of the Day feature. It’s a Flickr group that he started, but it will also be a way for him to showcase some of his HDR[wiki] work.

An example of an HDR photo:

Photo by Duane Storey on Flickr
Photo credit: duanestorey on Flickr

And another:

Photo by Duane Storey on Flickr
Photo credit: duanestorey on Flickr

Had to throw some samples of an HDR image, or two, of his in there. It’s truly some amazing stuff. Makes me want my own SLR so I could do that.

If you are on Flickr, you can join the group as well. Duane might even feature you on the Photo of the Day.

Blogathon 2007 I wanted to make a point to let everyone know about Blogathon 2007. Not only is it a good cause to take apart in, but Rebecca is stepping up to the challenge this year. We watched Alanah and Yvonne go for it the last time around, so we know what it takes. Unfortunately, I have to work that day, otherwise I’d probably be taking part as well.

The goal of blogathon is to blog every 30 minutes for 24 hours (this year being July 28th). The most validating part of the concept is to get people to sponsor your marathon of bloggery. Each blogathon site will have a donate/sponsor button and a charity of choice selected. As you read and enjoy the plethora of content hopefully you will be inspired to donate. Last year I donated to Canuck Place and received a tax receipt along with warm fuzzies. The blogger never processes your money or sees your transaction, it all goes directly through the charity.

This year I’ll be blogging from 6:00 am Saturday July 28th until 6:00 am Sunday July 29th. I will be awake (because that’s a part of the challenge) and fully interactive with commenters and sponsors. My charity will be the Surrey Food Bank, and I’ll put up a nice little badge and link when the fun begins. Until then, stay tuned, the post category will be ‘blogathon’. Who knows how silly things will get at 4:00 am Sunday morning with me running on no sleep, tethered to my laptop. [miss604]

You can follow this link to make a pledge to her efforts.

It should be an interesting experience. I know that if I were to be doing this, I would be supporting the Angelman Syndrome Foundation for my nephew Zach, probably the sweetest little boy that you’ll ever meet. If anything, I’ll be popping in on Rebecca’s effort with more information on the condition.