Is a blogger a journalist?

CFM Tips & Trends:

A hot topic about news in the news, and in blogs, is: Are bloggers journalists? The debate may be pointless. Some are, some never will be and an increasing number are reaching a point of convergence.

A what? As the newsroom resources at legacy newspapers – and even their companion websites – declines, a news coverage gap emerges, says Vadim Lavrusik of So-called citizen journalism sites are growing, with some traditional news websites aggregating these blogs as a routine source of information for their readers.

“The two roles and distinctions are merging, and eventually we may no longer see the shallow and stereotypical references of bloggers who sit in their basements and write about what they had for breakfast,” notes Lavrusik. “The truth is more bloggers are going out and doing original reporting, while traditional journalists are beginning to see the value in curation and are blogging themselves, though probably not from their mother’s basements.”

As “community journalism” sites expand, more bloggers are striving to impose professional and ethical standards upon their work, says Michele McLellan, a one-time reporter and editor at The Oregonian, and now a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Read the full article here. Discuss below.

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    I commented on this over at CFM, but they appear to have declined to publish my comment. So, I'll attempt to reconstruct my thoughts here:

    This is a stupid question.

    It's akin to asking, "If it's printed on newsprint, is it journalism?" Well, newspaper are printed on newsprint - but so are restaurant menus, nickel ads, campaign mailers, and phone books.

    Some people who use blogs are clearly engaged in journalism and are clearly journalists. Jeff Mapes, for example.

    Some people who use blogs are activists - like those of us at BlueOregon. We might occasionally perform a random act of journalism, but we're not journalists.

    Some people who use blogs are parents posting baby pictures, teenage girls ranting about their stupid boyfriends (or vice versa), comedians posting jokes, hobbyists chattering about whatever they're into, and the list goes on.

    Whether someone is engaged in the practice of journalism is an entirely separate question from whether someone is using a blog as a tool.

    Either you're a journalist or you're not - and whether you choose to distribute your news on newsprint, on the radio, on television, or on a blog, is irrelevant. (And by the same token, there are lots of people using newsprint, television, and radio that aren't journalists either.)

    Jeff Mapes is a journalist. I am not. The fact that we both use blogs is entirely irrelevant to the question.

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