I realize I’m on a bit of a journalism bender here lately, but I can’t help myself, especially when Jay Rosen announces that the debate is officially ended.
Bloggers vs. journalists is over. I don’t think anyone will mourn its passing. There were plenty who hated the debate in the first place, and openly ridiculed its pretensions and terms. But events are what did the thing in at the end. 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.”
And so we know they’re journalism– sometimes. They’re even capable, at times, and perhaps only in special circumstances, of beating Big Journalism at its own game. Schwartz said so. The tsunami story is the biggest humanitarian disaster ever in the lifetimes of most career journalists and the blogs were somehow right there with them.
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 reeaalllly wish I could be at Harvard this weekend, but the aggregated feeds and the webcast will just have to do. And besides, now that I have my iPod, I’m sure Doug Kaye and IT Conversations will be making it all downloadable in short order.