Lately I’ve been really bothered by something: bloggers who call themselves journalists. I know it’s just an effort to seem a little classier than you are when someone asks "what do you do for a living," and we all do it (well, those of us with less exciting job descriptions), but reading a single article, condensing it, throwing in an opinion (generally with no other background information than the aformentioned article), and regurgigating it isn’t journalism. And I don’t think the bloggers who use the term think it is either, but thinking about it has made me read blogs with a more critical eye.
These folks are not to be confused with bloggers who are content creators. Content creators come in a wide variety, from those who document progress on a project, to people who simply wax philosophical on whatever they thought of when they first woke up this morning. I’m not saying blogs all need to be highly academic and researched, one of my favorite (now defunct) blogs is Miss Doxie, which is the diary of a woman and her dogs, booze, and shoes.
But it seems most professional bloggers aren’t content creators. They’re more like online tastemakers. They peruse everyone else’s freshly created content, decide which of it is worth sharing, and if it is, distill it into a convenience microwavable meal for easy digestion and sharing.
We need a new word, something to separate the professional content aggregators from the people who actually write things. And while we’re at it, can we please strip the half-baked personal opinions out of the content aggregation? If I wanted uninformed opinions from someone who just read the article, I’d read the comments.
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