Saturday, May 07, 2005

The journalists v blogger heavy-weight title is weighing-in with too much fat.

Media struggling with Blogs: UPI: "

UPI reports that traditional media is grappling with dwindling interest and growing criticism from bloggers.

I'm a journalist.
I'm a blogger.

Or maybe, I'm the reverse - a blogger first, then a journalist. No, I'm a person with an opinion and a care about the world first and everything else is second. As a journalist, I'd like to think I've chosen to be a part of a tradition rather than simply choosing a career. I do have an objective - give people the news so they can make up their own opinions. It doesn't matter if I'm reporting on school board meetings or writing an op-ed piece about academically-challenged high school standards, I'm strive to give the working Joe the information he needs whether it's to have an inteligent conversation around the water-cooler at work or when he steps behind the curtain of a voting booth to vote for the next president of the United States.

Are bloggers, I don't think so. Do they sometimes act as journalists...yes. Do they provide a community service...Definately. Bloggers don't have editors and, as of right now, they are not held accountable for the facts or psueodo, slanted facts they post so, really, they have nothing to lose by posting lies. Journalists do. But, where journalists should step back and be objective, bloggers don't. I'm not naive, a lot of the mainstream media is biased, but that's not the way it's supposed to be and it's a result of a larger, public trend/advertising campaign to effectively target audiences that want to be targeted (check the fact, Democrats watched CNN for the Democrat National Convention, Republicans watch FOX). Bloggers are free to post their opinions and these are very valuable to journalists.

If journalists go into every interview armed with only their personal questions for "their" stories, then every story begins to sound the same to the general public. However, if they were to keep up with local blogs, they could discover what the community truly wants to know. This not only applies to specific issues, but to stories overall. If there is an outcry for more reporting on the local school board elections than a tax bond proposal, wouldn't that be an important factor to consider when deciding which story to run on the front page?

That's only one aspect. Most journalists feel as if bloggers are overly critical of printed/broadcast stories; that bloggers read/watch these just to find holes and biases. Well, maybe, but is too much fact-checking a bad thing? Having this extra scrutiny applied to every story is only going to make journalism as a profession stronger. The good reporters will stand-out and be applauded by the bloggers and the public; the bad will be ridiculed. Editors and managers are inteligent people - they can tell when a blogger's comments are justified or just sanctimonious bullshit.

The battle between journalists and bloggers needs to end. Who should take the first step...journalists. From someone who's been kissing the retail end of society for 8 years knows the customer is always right, even when they are wrong. Bloggers represent the public, the very people journalists are trying to inform. They are our audience. Through their blogs they will either throw roses or rotten fruit. And right now, journalism needs all the public support it can scrounge.


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