Journalism education and tips for journalists

Monday, September 13, 2004

Blog typology [update]

I have been thinking about, reading about and viewing blogs for a while now and they seem to me to fall into a number of loosely definable categories:

  • Confessional - I am suicidal
  • Corporate - Microsoft/Sun/etc
  • Professional - Librarians/Researchers/Surfers (waves dude)
  • Political - Parties and orgs. Not blogs *about* politics but blogs *by* politicians (in a very broad sense)
  • Conversational - I am interested in these things, talk with me and others about them
  • Journalistic - By journalists [ ahhh there's the rub :-) ]

I will expand in coming posts, but it is the last two that seem to be causing the problem of "is blogging journalism".
When we (journalists) say "that is not journalism" what exactly do we base that on? How do we define "journalism?" And why is our/my/your definition any better than theirs (whoever they may be).

Open for discussion!


  • Mark, pleasure to see you beginning your blog typology; I would not quibble with your major categories, provided we define your "journalistic" category broadly. I wanted to share with you two posts that I did on the question of blogging and journalism after interviewing some of the leading practioners of the blogging craft.

    The first is an interview I conducted with Rebecca MacKinnon of North Korea Zone.

    The second is a compendium of thoughts on the subjects by the likes of Kevin Drum, Daniel Weintraub, Rebecca Blood, and Jay Rosen.

    Also, from a longer interview that I conducted with Jay Rosen (sorry in advance for the length, but I think his comments are fascinating.)

    "I think the web blog appears at a particular time in the evolution of the American press and the profession of journalism in the United's the changing terms of authority in journalism.

    Before web blogs came into its own consciousness, I would not call it a crisis in authority, but a changing, coming about because of technology, commercial pressures, rise of the older model of partisan press, talk radio, the increasing partisan politics overall are having an impact on blogging. The institutions that the press evolved a long time ago peaked, and we are shifting to a new system.

    Web blog represents: other conversations about the news, other sphere adding to the media system of old; it has some journalism in it, and often comments that improves on the news. It represents a particular kind of audience and reflecting surface. Journalists have not had that kind of scrutiny before.

    What is journalism depends on the context in which it is being produced....For our purposes at BloggerCon journalism is a practice and not a profession. I tend to think journalism is a practice: professionals engage in that practice, and so do non-professionals. There are professional painters and nonprofessional painters. In journalism, it can be a democratic practice.

    If you see journalism from the authors side, would you call that communcation purpose "journalism?" You find journalism in the relationship between someone who is addressing a public, and its got to be a public with information and discussion needs; I isolate journalism in that relationship. See my essay at Press Think on the Web blog as an extremely democratic form in journalism.

    Journalism is very related to certain concepts of time. The dailyness of life, the idea of the world eternally changing, things have to be tracked in time, informed in time, and bloggers who take up that relationship in time are coming closer to journalism. To me that is the last question you ask. One of the things that bothers me is that we should be talking about how webblogs tend or drift to journalism, rather than whether they are journalists or not. You can talk about how journalism is evolving toward web blogs or not. The truth is if you asked the bloggers if they are a journalist, their answer would be that they are sometimes doing something like that."

    By Blogger dkreiss, at 2:23 PM  

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    By Blogger dkreiss, at 2:33 PM  

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