Blogging vs. Journalism

I have been getting a lot of requests lately to speak about the differences between blogging and journalism. Though bloggers do work and act in some respects like journalists we simply aren’t and nor do we want to be. It must be said though that the more popular we become and the bigger the audience the more responsible we need to be and so some extent ethics and self moderation kicks in. Sure they aren’t the same as journalists but then I maintain that bloggers are actually more honest than journalists in that we are open about our partisanship, our biases and our prejudices.

In an article about Radiolab, Ira Glass?makes an important point about journalism that I think holds true here:

Real journalism ? and by that I mean fact-based reporting ? is getting trounced by commentary and opinion in all its forms, from Fox News to the political blogs to Jon Stewart. Everyone knows newspapers are in horrible trouble. TV news continually loses ratings. And one way we broadcast journalists can fight back and hold our audience is to sound like human beings on the air. Not know-it-all stiffs. One way the opinion guys kick our ass and appeal to an audience is that they talk like normal people, not like news robots speaking their stentorian news-speak.

This si what I say in my presentation and what I told the Law Commission the other day. People follow bloggers not mastheads. True bloggers encourage debate, cause reactions and solicit a following that no journalist can hope to match.

I call my followers my “Army”. They are loyal and they go where I go. They choose to follow me because they like what I say and the way that I say it. Like most modern?armies, my Army is is also a volunteer army. No one forces them to watch and read what I post, they choose to do so in an open market of idea that is vast and unrelenting in weeding out rubbish.

Some say we should be controlled. That we should have rules. I say no to that, I say let the mob rule. If I get something wrong then my audience will tell me and provide the links and proof that I was wrong.

Crossover though is imminent as mastheads lose their power. We have seen it happen in the US and the uK, New Zealand can’t be far behind. Those of us who have put in our 10,000 hours are now enjoying the rewards that come from hard work and persistence.