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March 11, 2003

Meta Convo

At some point I might gather my thoughts more coherently on the subject of blogging versus journalism. I like to blog, I also like to read about the phenomenon of blogging. I'm interested in the various perspectives and responses about it. From what I've read in the official press, there seems to be a bias by journalists towards bloggers, which I find kind of amusing but also annoying. Note to journos: Hey, I don't want your job. Relax. Scott and I had the following exchange - apologies for the length and lack of polish on my part.

On Tue, 11 Mar 2003 11:45:08 Lady Crumpet wrote:

[“All the Useless People” The Intro, Jeff Koyen, NY Press, v. 16, no. 11, 3/12/03]

a new snipe at bloggers: "writers who infest the web"

From: Scott
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2003 12:22 PM
To: Lady Crumpet
Subject: RE: interesting

I don't understand this piece, other than that somebody made a comment about him online and he's mad about it. It seems like another drop of the undiluted bile journalists (self-styled and otherwise) are spewing about the indignity of having to put up with other people writing.

On Tue, 11 Mar 2003 12:40:54
Lady Crumpet wrote:

It's not like people weren't writing before, in the way of diaries or newsletters before, or putting out websites and blogs now. It's just that the tools and services are there to really put it out there in the world, instead of keeping it to oneself or one's circle of friends, and it's a big phenomenon. CNN seems to have just discovered blogs; it just did a story about blogs; there was even a little poll, and the biggest result was for people who said they would never keep a blog.

People can tell the difference between journalism and blogging. But there are good bloggers out there, and there are also journalists who blog. Is it a competitive thing, bloggers winnowing readers away from the "real" writers, the journalists or "journos"? Is it annoyance with all the hoi polloi now polluting the web with their writing, because only real writers should be able to publish and share their thoughts with the world? Blogging is getting huge, but we'll see how many people stick with it.

From: Scott
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2003 1:07 PM
To: Lady Crumpet
Subject: RE: interesting

Yeah, there have always been nonprofessional writers and of those there have always been a lot of bad writers for every good one. Making it easier to "publish" if only online, makes the proportion of good work even smaller. Distinguishing the good from the bad is always difficult.

I think journalists do object to having to compete with other people who haven't endured what they have to get where they are. Someone who set out to be a journalist in the 70s or 80s (or even early 90s)probably didn't imagine that the web would radically multiply the type and number of potential outlets for reportage, commentary, and criticism. That person probably studied journalism in college (where he learned not much other than the mechanics and culture of the media industry,) worked on low/no paying campus or local publications, started a zine DIY, sent out hundreds of spec pieces to legit outlets and got hundreds of rejections (or no responses at all) until something finally worked and they made it in the door. Now, after they've reached what they thought would be a privileged position where their product would benefit from some kind of authority or protected institutional status, a lot of people get their news/commentary online and the work of amateurs who haven't pa id dues enjoy access and circulation (and in some cases attention) similar to their own stuff.

It isn't a question of whether online readers can distinguish between journalism and blogging (or even professional commentary and blogging); I'm sure they can. The question is whether the former is presumed better than the latter. I think if journalists really produced product that was substantially better than what anybody with desktop publishing software or web tools, they wouldn't be having these reactions.

Yours, &c., LC | 01:58 PM | Blogos