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bloggers v. journalists

Jessica's Well sets off a debate (intentionally) by asking for comments on this:

Resolved: This House (OK, this Blog) believes that the collective knowledge of the blogosphere is greater than the collective knowledge of professional journalists regardless of the subject.

My response:

We seek our knowledge out. There's is handed to them at story meetings. We fact check each other. They don't. We have a passion for our subjects that many professional journalists lack. We have each other to rely on for knowledge, as well. Want to write something about the Iranian earthquake? Read a few Iranian blogs. I certainly didn't know nearly as much about the city of Bam than I do now - simply by reading and following links on other blogs.

We are far more knowledgeable because our database (each other) is nearly bottomless.

Head for her comments and add your two (or ten) cents. I think I'll expand on these thoughts later.

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» Bloggers or Journalists? from lingosphere daily
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» journos and bloggers from Arguing with signposts...
This is a couple of days old, but I want to add my two cents as a journalist and a blogger (okay, so I teach journalism now, but it's still my bread and butter). Jessica's Well, an excellent blog out... [Read More]

Comments

The blogosphere simply wins on numbers. There are far more webloggers than pro journalists.

I think where blogs lose out often is that lack of objectivity. On the one hand the passion for a cause can be the thing that makes a particular blog interesting, regardless of whether or not we, as the reader, agree. On the other hand there's a danger that the blogger will disregard or twist information to fit in with their own point of view. I know there are many journalists out there that will do this too but we tend to expect reporters to be impartial. Actauuly maybe that makes them more dangerous - we take their information as being impartial when it isn't whereas with a blogger we expect a certain amount of bias and allow for that.

I have to say that blogs are far more effective than journalists (me included) because they can dig up huge amounts of data quickly. Journalists don't think to use the internet to help their out their investigations.

Furthermore, blogging is almost exclusivly an amateur job. This means that bloggers bring the professional knowledge of all our various and sudry careers to the table, while professional journalists only know about being a journalist.

I thought her name was Natalie...

First, the posessive of "they" is "theirs", not "there's". So much for unimpeachable accuracy.
Bloggers are a vast group; their power is that of democracy. The most widely accepted opinion is not always right. The major failure of the democratic concept is that the vast majority of people must be, by definition, of average intellect. Most serious questions need above-average minds to be solved.

:: Journalists don't think to use the internet to help their out their investigations::

Not true, at least not where I work. And there are some things the Internet doesn't know, and can't know. One reporter who's spent 20 years covering the state House knows more than 200 bloggers who have Google bookmarked. For some beats you have to actually be present, and be present for quite a long time.

And there are some things the Internet doesn't know, and can't know. One reporter who's spent 20 years covering the state House knows more than 200 bloggers who have Google bookmarked.

And if a House staffer who's actually been in the closed meetings for twenty years starts a blog? Bloggers come from everywhere. Salam Pax had a view of pre-war Iraq that few, if any foreign professional journalists could match. When Iraqis took to the streets to protest against terrorism, the "professional" media practically ignored it. Zayed had great photos published the same day.

I appreciate the professional media. Much of my posting is based on things I've seen in the pro media. But they're not gods, they're not prophets, they're not even priests. They put their pants on one leg at a time, and they'll spike a story they don't want told, just as fast as the Blogosphere will. In fact, they'll probably spike an unpleasant story quicker than the Blogosphere will. I might not blog a story that made President Bush look bad, but you can bet your last typewriter ribbon that Hesiod will. And if Hesiod doesn't, Spoons will.

Riyadh delenda est

Good points, Cato, but:

IF the House staffer starts a blog. IF. And if he or she does, will they use their real name and risk losing their job, or use a psuedonym and lose their credibility? Anyone can say he's a 20 year staffer, after all.

Long before the internet, Robert A. Heinlein claimed he was about 4 or 5 people away from The World's Greatest Expert on any subject imaginable.

Journalists don't think to use the internet to help their out their investigations.

What Lileks said. I work in a field peripheraly related to newsgathering, and I can assure you that not only do journalists use the Internet, it's quickly become their number one tool for background and for filling in information.