Just read a fascinating opinion piece in The Daily News, by Andre Stepankowski, the city editor for this daily news media outlet. The thrust of his article is that “bloggers” or “citizen journalists” are not really journalists. And, he backs it up with some very compelling arguments. Read it here: http://tinyurl.com/l55xas. Now, I believe many people realize that bloggers are not professional journalists. And, I do believe a blog can be a useful forum to discuss and exchange ideas as long as ALL comments (with the exception of profanity-laden tirades and ads for Viagra) are allowed to be posted and remain unedited and uncensored. Sadly, that is not the case with some blogs that violate this Internet guideline of transparency. In fact, some spiteful blog moderaters will go so far as to take snippets of official news releases (as if they are doing your organization a favor!) or cut and past content out of context and then editorialize or skew the meaning and misinterpret the facts. What’s perhaps even more worrisome or hilarious, depending on how you see it, are the pseudonyms that hide the true identity of real people. Some people believe that if they comment on their own opinion pieces, masquerading as a different person, it will support their own cause. (With some blogs and new Internet tools, it’s fairly easy to see through the facade and identify the person when you examine the digital signature of the source). It is a laughable paradox that by promoting themselves, they actually do a disservice to the entire blogosphere. And, as Stepankowski puts it,  “No one is talking about muzzling anyone here. Everyone is entitled to have his say, provided it doesn’t libel or slander anyone. But, as the saying goes, opinions are cheap because everyone has one, and not everyone knows the difference between opinion and fact.” Don’t you love America!

14 thoughts on “Are bloggers really journalists?

  1. This is interesting…as social media and the internet on the whole gain more and more attention we will see a greater following of blogs. Everyday more people start blogs all with different intentions. I agree that bloggers are not journalist, those are two completely different forms of communication. I look at blogs as a hobby or easy addition to a business web site. Journalist may create similar contact as a blogger but the reason of communication often is different. (just my opinion)

  2. Bloggers in my opinion are in a way “journalists”. One difference is that they are able to be a little more creative and flowing with their opinions and present a story from their perspective. Tell I have been living under a rock for not knowing what the show Family Guy show is until recently, but I saw an episode where the themes of the comedy were cherry picked from the headlines of our times. It is frightening to think that some people might even take that show as the gospel of what is going on in our world. My point is that journalism comes in many ways, back in the era of horse and buggy, people went from town to town as informers of the news, reporting on what was going on in the world. The scope of the “world” in the 1700’s was much smaller in scale obviously. Those people inserted a little bit of their opinion in the stories, just as bloggers do in the 21st century.

  3. My views on bloggers have warped throughout the years. At first, I thought the point of having a blog was to post personal stories about yourself – like a diary or journal for the whole world to see. People still do that but then there are the bloggers who are posting reviews about products and criticizing the latest movies and gadgets. Finally, I agree that people are using blogs and posting things about themselves to gain (if any) publicity for themselves. This is why I never take bloggers seriously, they’ve ruined any credibility that they had to begin with and not only that, but they’ve made it hard for me to believe future bloggers.

    1. I agree with Rasy. I used to believe that bloggers were just meant to support or be against an issue, without recognizing them as a source for factual information. Maybe this is how it was in the beginning, but media began to realize the power of influence these people had and began feeding off and into these blogger’s opinions leading to a new division of journalists. The problem here was that this created a tight mix between real “facts” and opinion, which is at times hard to distiniguish between. Basically, it can cause people to live off of misleading information–like there isn’t enough out there to weed through. Not to mention that journalists are at least held to by law, while bloggers generally are not. My opinion is that there is a difference between journalists and bloggers.

    2. I have to agree with you. If I were to start my own blog now, it would be me talking about what is going on in my personal life, or if I want other’s opinions on a certain topic. Most bloggers seem like they are just out to get companies. This is scary for companies because one slightly bad experince with one person could possibly mean that hundreds know about it within an hour, and who is to say if those people would now dislike your company, all because one person started it. I wouldn’t really believe what bost of these bloggers say. Most comments are rumors, and even if they are true, I believe in experiencing things for yourself.

  4. I would agree with Emma that I thought blogging and bloggers were created to talk about an important subject matter and let people comment and give positive facts. Now though blogging has turned into an uproar and people are talking about others or stating facts that aren’t true about products in order to cause issues. I think the mot positive thing about blogging is for companies to keep track of customer complaints and opinions about how they run things. Otherwise a lot of blogging is very negative in non helpful in my opinion

  5. I agree with this article. Yes everyone should have the right to have their own opinions. However these opinions are not facts in most cases. You can get great infromation off of a blog, but you shouldn’t just take a blog as fact. People should do their own research to see if this information is actually credible.

  6. I think that if you voice your opinion in a public medium you hold YOURSELF to a certain level of credibility. Generally, journalists are more research focused whereas bloggers are more opinionated. I think, over time, it’s not going to be a “who will survive game” between journalists and bloggers. It will be a situation in which the most credible, research-focused and timely news communicators will remain at the top…whether they are bloggers or journalists.

  7. I think bloggers are in someways journalists, mostly for those who seek to have people following them on their blogs and getting them to lend an opinion. You can imagine all bloggers want followers though, otherwise it wouldn’t make much since to have a website that exists only for yourself. I believe that bloggers are trying to get others to believe what they believe which should make plenty of sense. All in all they’re not true journalists to me.

  8. No, no, no. They aren’t journalists at all! Journalists present legitimate facts and (are technically supposed to) present those facts in an unbiased fashion unless specified as an opinion piece. Granted, to some extent, I feel like bloggers do have an important place in the world, and without them, communication about politics, companies, just about anything, couldn’t happen so freely as it does now. I feel like it’s important that these people get their opinions out and heard, so that companies reading them have a chance to respond, as more of a customer service effort. But in no way would I deem them as journalists.

  9. I thought that his arguments against blogging as journalism were quite interesting. I actually aoid blogs for many of the reason he discusses. There are too many idiots out there with too much time on their hands and too many uninformed and uneducated opinions polluting social media sites so that people with relevant and well thought out opinions are lost in the clutter. On the other hand, at the most basic level journalism is the act of reporting about something and if people engage in these kinds of blogs, I believe that this could indeed count as a form of grassroots reporting and could be useful to others.

  10. Bloggers are NOT journalists. Everyone has an opinion that doesnt make them journalists. Social media or “blogging” is just an outlet for these people to express themselves. In my opinion

  11. Is bloggers a journalists? I think it is depends on the writer who own the blog. I know blog is for writers to write their own opinion on it, some may even not a fact, however, if the writer of the blog is a very famous and powerful person, I think still will have a lot of people willing to follow and believe. But if I really need to choose yes or no, then I think I will say bloggers is not a journalists, because it is very difficult to push a blog’s writer to be objective on their writing. I know some of the journalists wrote the article with their own opinion too, but they still need to be objective for their reader because that is about their job’s ethics.

  12. Personally, the bloggers seems to be somewhat journalists, even thought most blogs are base on the opinion rather than facts. Also the people who follow the blogs would then become the audiences, and if those individuals are impressed with thoughts or ideas, and they might become fans of the blogs. Nevertheless, it depends on the way the writers’ styles, opportunities, and knowledge in order to impact the readers.
    As I stated before that most bloggers are somewhat the journalists, but I believe in the journalist instead of blogger because those journalists seem to be more credible and knowledge than the bloggers in the fields that they’re working on.

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