Monday, March 07, 2005

Is blogging journalism?

That is the question. Recently in one court case where Apple Inc. sued two bloggers for revealing product information, the judge ruled that bloggers aren't journalists and allowed the special protections thereof. That case is on appeal. AOL News has this story about people being fired from their jobs for blogging. So, with all this backlash, how can blogging be journalism? How can I sit here and tell you that I have no special protections but I'm still a journalist? That part is rather easy. Because I'm a journalist when I'm not blogging, too. But the fact that the medium I choose to publish in is the Internet should have no bearing on whether or not I get credentialed. What should go into consideration is do I update regularly (regularly enough) and do I have a way of being contacted so that I'm not totally anonymous, peddling gossip as fact and spreading lies. But that gets right to the heart of what it means to being a journalist. A journalist is someone who seeks the truth and then lets others know about it. The only difference between me and the staff writer at the Washington Post is that I have taken a different method. I believe that being subjective allows me to get at the truth. A typical objective news story will have one person say one thing and another person say another thing. The He said...She said school of journalism. Most people use this to remain objective so that they maintain credibility. I quote one person and tell you point blank he is lying and here is why. I source it and tell you in no uncertain terms that I am pissed off that that particular person is lying. I'm being subjective, I'm being opinionated and I'm more than likely being partisan. But I'm also telling you the truth. Hunter Thompson, in his famous obit of Richard Nixon, explained that

It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.
That's what I and other bloggers do. We get subjective and we expose the lies, the horrible jobs that other so-called-journalists do and we publish on the greatest tool ever created to communicate with other people. My credibility comes, not from who signs my paycheck, but from my readers who appreciate that I seek the truth. Even if I fail, I think you guys would still be here because you at least appreciate that I want to find the truth and let you know; not construct some false sense of objectivity and leave you in the dark on what's really going on.


At 7:49 PM, Blogger MajorDad said...

Holy Schnikies!!! (IF you don't "get it" go rent "Tommy Boy" at Blockbuster immediately!)

I agree with Nate! We both agree that you don't necessarily have to go to Harvard and get a political science degree to be an expert in international affairs to have an opinion on Iraq/Afghanistan/fill in the blank(like so many of our celebs on the left).

It would also follow that someone need not a sheepskin in Journalism to be annointed as a journalist!

It would seem to this humble scribe and master of the written English language that being able to put coherent strings of words together to impart a thought, idea or opinion would be enough to earn the title of "journalist." The flip side of that you have a following willing to read what the "journalists" write.

I find it comical to call Dan Rather and the other talking heads "journalists." They have staffs out the wazoo to do all the dirty work...write the scripts....and then simply read the stories from teleprompters five nights a week. I call them newsreaders...for those that are too lazy to read a newspaper or hit one of a million news sites on the Internet.

See you on the high ground!



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