Monday, June 16, 2008

Is Blogging Journalism?

Until recently, people had to rely on the traditional news outlets, print newspapers and television, for information on what was happening in their community, country, or world. The Internet changed the whole landscape of news reporting whether it was how reporters were getting their information or how the papers themselves were reaching the readers. Reporters have become able to uncover background information much more quickly than in times past and newspapers are able to relay that information on to the readers almost instantly. The thing that most traditional outlets fear, though, is that amateurs are stepping in and trying to do their jobs. Some anti-bloggists like Michael Skube, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning author who teaches journalism at Elon University in North Carolina, are strictly opposed to the idea of blogs and will allow them no credit as journalistic material (LA Times). Skube, who admits that he doesn't read blogs, told the Times, "I find myself doing something in my journalism class that gives me considerable unease... discussing that often truculent tribe that calls itself bloggers." I completely disagree with Skube's stance of blogging as journalism. As a child of the technological age, I have been brought up with the internet and primetime 24-hour news outlets; I am older than most of my classmates, though, and also believe that the traditional reporting of newspapers is the correct way to relay the news to the public. In my personal blogs I cover both aspects of news reporting; I track down sources (though I do it online mostly) and back up my observations with substantial facts while also inserting a person touch and my opinions on the topics that I choose to discuss. I may be different than most though, in the sense that I am a journalism student receiving education on the topic while most bloggers are just jumping into it blind, with little to no education or knowledge of writing and reporting the news. This is the freedom that the Internet allows society, though, and I believe it should be embraced, for better or worse.

In the USC Annenburg Online Journalism Review, J.D. Lasica, OJR Senior Editor, said, "a journalist is anyone who is an eyewitness to events or an interpreter of events and who reports it as honestly and accurately as possible. Period. You don't need to have the resources of The New York Times behind you. You can be a lone-wolf weblogger out there in the field with your Apple laptop, and when you blog an event you're reporting. We forget the derivation of the word journalism: someone who keeps a journal (USCA-OJR)." I love this definition. It sums up my feelings on blogging and journalism completely. I feel that if I was present at an event, and I blog it accurately; I was reporting that event, plain and simple. There is no other way to define the action and classic journalists shouldn't fear this new process of reporting, it should be embraced and enlisted by more professionals in the field. Maybe then we will get sincere reporting on events rather than template reports that are kept politically correct and conglomerate biased. I, for one, feel I am doing my part.

Bibliography/Works Cited

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