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.
2 thoughts on “Bloggers vs Bloggers”
“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.”
Indeed, it isn’t.
Real Journalism, as found in newspapers or television, consists of copying someone else’s story outright, without any fact checking whatsoever, making it more sensationalized, but without adding anything of value, and publishing it with an unwarranted implication of authority.
I think the same case can be made for journalists vs. journalists. There are journalists who do investigative reporting, interview people, aggregate a concept, and write an article. Then there are journalists who take press releases that are phrased as articles, perform some minor edits, and run spell-check (helpful hint: to get your message into the newspaper, send them a press release which is actually an electronic copy of a completed article). Banal commenting is just as popular in journalists as it is with bloggers.
Since, thus far, no distinction has been made in the journalism world, I don’t have high hopes for the blogging world. I think it’s because whatever content creators call themselves, people who link to that content want to be called the same thing lest they admit to being something “lesser”. I wonder if bloggers should be dBloggers/dt, and then we can take derivatives right down the line (i.e. linking to BoingBoing content, for instance would be what (too rusty at this) 1/2dBloggers/dt^2 or something?) A little obtuse, perhaps, but it kind of cements the relationship in a minimally-derogatory way.
Side note: yesterday’s BoingBoing feed brought some bad feelings from me concerning terribly uninformed commenting on links and I wondered if you saw that too.