Is blogging journalism? A comment on my last post got me thinking, as I was advised I could be arrested for practising journalism without accreditation.
Now, this is not the first time I’ve heard this. Indeed, one of my colleagues went so far as to call me a journalist because one of my posts ‘resonated’ with him. Yeah, I ranted and raved in response. Bygones.
To answer the question of whether my blogging can be construed (by any stretch of the imagination) as journalism, the answer is an emphatic hell no. Don’t get me wrong, I have practised as a journalist in the past, albeit before the current regulatory framework (which makes it a statutory offence to practice without accreditation) was put in place.
This doesn’t make blogging on rustygate.org journalism. It can be, of course. When actual journalists blog, when they dig for facts, ask the hard questions and take mistakes seriously, then yes journalism can occur on a blog.
The definition of a journalist depends on the activity, not the medium. If you seek factual, contemporary truths for a mass audience, governed by the traditional rules of ethics and integrity, and disseminate these facts through mainstream print or electronic media, then you are, to all intents and purposes, a journalist.
If journalism is by definition the reporting of news in a fair, balanced and accurate way, then my blogging is not journalism. I am opinionated, ranting, often incoherent and frequently biased with little regard for accuracy or balance. I’m working out my own identity, and connecting with like-minded people.
And when my blog does contain bona fide news it is largely derivative, rehashing stories from print journalism and the web at large.
Journalism implies that a disinterested third party is reporting facts fairly. To do that job requires considerable training and the cooperative work of many minds.
So calling anyone who blogs a journalist is like calling anyone who takes a snapshot a photographer.
It is unrealistic to apply the standards of journalism to us, who rarely have the time or resources to source the news, let alone actually report the news.
As Paul Andrews wrote, “… we are stronger and more valuable working outside mainstream media, rather than attempting to mirror the purposes of the insitution we should seek to analyse and supplement.”
To be honest, I have no desire to practise journalism. The hours are terrible, and the pay sucks.
As for blogging? Chicks dig it.