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Blogs and information channels

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences.

Originally published at

Blogs and information channels

Bloggers can be legitimate journalists too

She did it to me again.

Juliaki put something in comments that I really would rather discuss in a regular post.

Part of my reason is purely selfish, I want Google and Technorati to pick up my answer, which won't happen if I leave it on the Haloscan server.

The trick is that blogging hasn't made the jump yet to "serious journalism" in the eyes of most journalists. It is getting there... within the last 6 months there are some blogs that are covered by media outlets. But when you get down to it, 90%+ of the blogs out there aren't journalism. They aren't media. They're people talking about how they had sex with their dream date last night or talking about Fluffy's hairball issue.

I absolutely agree. Most blogs aren't "serious journalism." But it is not a journalist's job to determine that. Even in the mainstream, there is a big issue about which papers and news channels are "worthy" and which are not. But journalists don't pick what people pay attention to, people pick. What is really ironic here is how much of their industry's past that journalists are ignoring. "Yellow journalism" was not that long ago, and to judge by a couple of television networks, it still hasn't ended. The good blogs will stick around, the bad ones will weed themselves out. This is the same with newspapers, magazines, and broadcast media.

So, how do you separate the actual legitimate journalists from the people who can post anything and have no liability and no ethical guidelines to follow? How do I know that you're not being paid off by the people that you're featuring here? As a blogger, you can print something that borders on libel, racism, misleading, or even an outright lie. On the other hand, if a blogger wants to be considered as a journalist or news source, perhaps they should have an ethical code that they subscribe to. You don't have to check your facts. You can pass around rumors as news. And you can do it out of ignorance or one will know the difference.

You can't. You have nothing to go on except my reputation. That is the same that you have with any news and opinion source. But being mainstream with accredited sources doesn't guarantee that either. That doesn't cover things in the past year like Sony Pictures planting fake movie reviews, or certain biomed companies paying for "impartial" research showing the drastic need for Federally funded stem cell research. In fact, I can show recent examples in the mainstream media of libel, racism, misleading articles, and outright lies.

What I am offering at this blog is my perspective. The only advertising deals I have agreed to are with Google in exchange for search capability and to get my site indexed and with Amazon to get the pretty pictures in my booklists. A fair exchange, something for something. Yes, if you click on one of my book links and buy the book right then I will get a cut. But I certainly don't expect a lot of money. And if you will check, you'll notice that I do not discuss either Amazon or Google in my articles except to explain something on the site.

I did fail once to double check something (and also here) before putting it up on my blog (and on a few lists as well). I also retracted it when I got updated information. All this is still available on this site, I have not redacted any of it.

Yes, I do read Wonkette. A certain libertarian columnist who works at the Cato Institute linked to her regularly and I got hooked. Of course, she was spending a lot of space at the time discussing one of my favorite avocations...

I guess my point is that there would be no question that government couldn't regulate content if I was using a low power radio station, public access cable, or even a laser printer to get my ideas across. But since it is the internet, there is this whole push of whether bloggers are "legitimate journalists" or not. Under the Constitution, the FedGov does not have the power to make that distinction, and neither do the established journalists.

Now I am not talking about evading responsibility. By all means the libel and slander laws should apply no matter what the medium. I am saying that people have the right to decide where they get their information from, and they certainly don't need government permission.

p.s. Thanks for the link.

Posted: Tue - October 18, 2005 at 06:37 PM

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