Is Blogging Journalism?

I said on Facebook the other day that tech blogging is more like “infotainment” than journalism. The confusion around this subject is behind the reaction to the Michael Arrington VC fund and Arianna Huffington’s desire for editorial control over TechCrunch. Here’s a quote from Robert Scoble that should clarify the issue:

Several years ago Arrington and I were headed to some conference and I asked him about how he sees himself. Did he consider himself a blogger or a journalist, I asked. His answer stuck with me all this time: “I’m an entertainer.”

You can say the same thing about John Dvorak (as I have) and any number of other media figures who blog about technology.

I hope this helps with the general understanding.

3 thoughts on “Is Blogging Journalism?”

  1. Nah. The string of words “Is blogging journalism” or “Are bloggers journalists” are terms of art for an issue – roughly, “Should the current system of journalism as a quasi-public institution be destroyed and replaced with purely market-driven players?” Note – the obvious reply of “There’s already much market aspects, see “entertainer” above”, misses the point. The question is the entire destruction of any public aspect. Sort of like Paul Ryan’s plan to destroy Medicare (as we know it), or the ongoing attacks on Social Security.

  2. I meant to raise a different question, namely “what do we mean by the word “journalism?”

    However it’s funded, there are lots of things called by the name journalism that didn’t exist only a few years ago. If there were to be a system of public financing for journalism, it would be crucial to know what does and doesn’t qualify for support, but there’s not going to be one.

  3. Ah, but part of the issue is the meaning of “journalism” is deliberately and intentionally fogged and confused in the service of destroying the public-interest system.

    I think what you’re going around is the issue that “journalism” can mean

    1) Stenography of obvious facts (“The President said in a speech today …”)
    2) Investigating non-obvious public facts (“Exclusive report on the xyz scandal ..”)
    3) Interpretive Analysis “(“The action of the Federal Reserve will likely …”)
    4) Prioritization (“Here’s what’s happening in the world today”)
    5) Pontification (“The President must do the follow to win re-election …”)

    The bogosphere is very much #5, pontification, especially the “drama” part. People who excel at that, want it to be what matters, because that’s their business. They’d like to destroy the quasi-public #2 and #3 parts and essentially strip-mine the territory. The TechCrunch issue is basically about making #3 and #4 directly subservient to the business interests (again, the obvious reply is it’s already pretty bad. But there’s forces which want to make it even worse).

    Oh, for public funded journalism, see BBC. And note how it is absolutely hated by a certain crowd exactly because of being public funded.

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