For the record, I am not sitting in a basement while I type this.
My friend Michelle invited me to be a guest lecturer for her “Intro to Journalism” course at SFU this week. She is accomplished in print and radio (all over the world) and her other guest that night was a science journalist. Kudos to her for inviting me, a representative of a form of online journalism we call blogging, to speak in front of her class, even though I was super nervous.
When I was done my presentation, which included mentioning a ton of sites (from those that blog about kitties to NowPublic), she asked me if I knew of a blogger who has entered into mainstream media as a journalist. I was at a loss, and if someone out there can drop a name in the comments that would be great, but I could only think of the opposite; mainstreamers who got into blogging to supplement or as a part of their day jobs.
Mainstream media journalists are allowed to blog and it’s perfectly acceptable, whether or not they’re doing a good job can be argued, but it’s now becoming the norm. However, I find the general attitude towards the concept of a ‘blogger-turned-journalist’ is laughable. Why is that?
Does a paycheck = credibility and accountability? Just because we’re not “working media” doesn’t mean our opinions and views matter any less. Sure, we’re not officially hired to represent and inform the masses but aren’t we doing that anyway?
JJ and Alanah were discussing the article below before our podcast tonight. They found it pretty hilarious, being very familiar with sports writing as a genre, and I’m super glad they shared this with me:
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. [Chris McCosky – The Detroit News]
I respect mainstream media (msm), I have several friends of amazing integrity who work around this city and the world and do an outstanding job, but I also love blogging. Sure, there are those bloggers that do not adhere to any rules of conduct or ethical codes by ripping off posts, ideas and stories. However most bloggers actually do have guidelines and morals that they’ve personally established for their sites at least, there are even movements all over the web to integrate a legal “blogging code of conduct” , which includes commenting. The pure beauty of this medium is that it IS your voice and your opinion, something written and published by you, for the world.
With blogging and Web sites, it seems the hard work, standards, accountability, courage all of that is bypassed.
Who needs to study this stuff, or attend games, or conduct interviews when you can just sit in your basement and clack out whatever comes through your head, right? If I rip somebody, or if I get something wrong, who cares? Nobody will see me.
A lot of times these bloggers use the work of legitimate reporters. They will lift facts and segments of stories and cut and paste them onto their blog. Rarely, if ever, though, do they bother to credit the source. [Chris McCosky – The Detroit News]
I must admit, the non-crediting of sources and ideas pisses me off to no end, it’s one of my biggest “net peeves”. And aggregators that scoop the entire content of your post and do not say a) who wrote the post b) supply a link back to the original article are just plain illegal in my opinion – but that’s a blog post for another time as I could literally go on for hours about at least two particular “Vancouver” sites of this nature.
Personally, I always love to credit sources. It allows you to differentiate reported facts from your own thoughts and it also allows for link love and trackbacks, and we all know people usually love to be quoted or blogged about. As for mainstream media, I think it’s pretty obvious I wasn’t on the scene of that shooting on Granville and 70th so whatever comments I have on gang violence in Vancouver are obviously rooted in msm, but circulated to the masses with my own voice.
Also you can’t tell me that msm isn’t getting some of THEIR information from blogs. I know for a fact that a certain television station in Vancouver scooped up at least two stories directly from some of my blog posts here and there. Sure, they’re free to build upon them as they like but do you think when the story aired that there was a banner at the bottom of the screen that said, “as first seen on Miss604.com”?
This doesn’t apply of course to stories focused specifically on blogs or blogging as I was wholeheartedly pleased that the CBC looked me up as a “donut expert” based on a blog post I once wrote.
What it boils down to is that it seems like just when I think that maybe bloggers are the ones being elitist with a firm belief that traditional radio and newspapers are a dying medium – that we are the wave of the future – an article like this pops up and knocks us back down to earth. Maybe the joke is on us.
Regardless, stories like this remind me of the power I actually have as a blogger – a non-official, non-paid, non-journalist (although being paid for this would really help with the bills). Everything I’ve created at this site over the last four years has merit in some form or another, through my eyes. I’m very proud of it all – and that’s no joke.