Thursday, January 20, 2005

But I have not yet begun to debate!

Do you ever feel that things in the blogosphere move too quickly to really digest? Maybe even if I had all day to mull over what I read in my morning jog around the Internet ...

For example, I used to be a journalist for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Logan Herald Journal. I also love to blog. So I have some interest in the debate over blogs vs. traditional journalism. I read what Will Richardson, and others say, and know their debates that traditional journalism will slowly disappear or diminish as more people get news from first-hand accounts. I think they're right ... to some extent. But I still read my morning paper. There are things I want from a newspaper, and things I want from blogs. I'm still not sure what those "things" are--I'm still thinking about that. That's why I haven't posted my thoughts here on my blog yet on this topic. I have thoughts, but they are not developed enough to speak aloud yet.

But I guess I'm too late! Because now Jay Rosen declares the debate is over, before I could even join the debate. Here's a few snippets, by way of Will:
Bloggers vs. journalists is over. I don't think anyone will mourn its passing. ... In the final weeks of its run, we were getting bulletins from journalists like this one from John Schwartz of the New York Times, Dec. 28: "For vivid reporting from the enormous zone of tsunami disaster, it was hard to beat the blogs."...

The question now isn't whether blogs can be journalism. They can be, sometimes. It isn't whether bloggers "are" journalists. They apparently are, sometimes. We have to ask different questions now because events have moved the story forward. By "events" I mean things on the surface we can see, like the tsunami story, and things underneath that we have yet to discern.

I think for me, the biggest issue is credibility. I know by saying this that any hard-core bloggers reading this will be upset. I agree that journalists are not always credible, and they are biased. But so are bloggers. But bloggers don't lose their job or get forced to retire if they get caught lying. So there does seem to be a credibility check with journalism. I agree that ultimately, we must become discerning readers, able to sift out the bogus from the true for ourselves. But it's a lot easier to do that if a good share of the bogus is already sifted out before we ingest it.

Can blogs and journalists co-exist? I think so, and I hope so. They provide credibility checks for each other. But I don't think I'll ever read a blog first for my news -- I'll read a news website for the first story, and then read the blogs to get the detail, description, and first-hand account, if I want it.

I think that's what I'll do. But the debate isn't over for me. I'm still thinking about how blogs and journalism can both be valuable for me personally ...

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