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.
Laura Pearle says
There are some posts that might inform this discussion a bit
more. I’ve been thinking about what Karen Schneider has been
writing from the Harvard conference (somewhat incoherently due to it
being “blogged in real time” – which is another way of saying I’m
taking notes on-line and making them public): http://freerangelibrarian.com/
has the latest, updated regularly. One thing that struck me was
her comment that when librarians said “users”, journalists were
surprised. What else are readers of newspapers/magazines/blogs or
viewers of tv than users?
The other posts that have got me thinking are on Thanks for Not Being a Zombie.
In the first post, he writes “Being a good writer is not necessarily
the same thing as being a good
blogger, although the two categories are not mutually exlusive.”
In his second post, he adds “no form of communication is ever truly new
or truly unique. New forms
tend to be conceived at first in terms of the old, as I’ve written before. And old forms are reconceived
in the face of the new.” Right now, my thoughts on this are very
jumbled but given the purpose of this blog, I thought others might take
this under consideration as well.
Will R. says
Thanks for posting Laura. Jumbled is the right word for all of this,
and I love it. What’s new is being able to sort it out with people like
you and thousands of others who are up to the same thing. That concept
is old too, but we just never knew they were out there before. Now we
do, and that is very cool.