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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bloggers vs 'Real Journalists'

I find the discussion I see going on about a Wall Street Journal opinion piece to be enlightening, and being an opinionated blogger myself, I of course, have to add my two cents here.

Let us catch everyone up before imparting my own pearls of wisdom.

Evidently, Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit fame, "heralds an era in which "[m]illions of Americans who were in awe of the punditocracy now realize that anyone can do this stuff."

That seems to have riled a Mr. Paul Mulshine, in a WSJ editorial piece, who laments:

No, they can't. Millions of American can't even pronounce "pundit," or spell it for that matter. On the Internet and on the other form of "alternative media," talk radio, a disliked pundit has roughly a 50-50 chance of being derided as a "pundint," if my eyes and ears are any indication.

He goes to point out that it is "real journalists" that attend meetings, read through documents and "analyze" things so they can inform the public of the news.

Well here is the deal as I see it... Reynolds is right, if enough independent, lowly bloggers, with a good vocabulary, were strewn our across America and willing to attend local meetings and go through documents which now are usually all published online, then yes, old media can and will be replaced.

Sure, many times, we bloggers find the news, paste important paragraphs and give our opinions which if we were real "journalists" writers would calling "analysis" instead of opinion, and bring the news to people who come to our sites.

Other times bloggers have been known to get their hands on PDF documents, produce them, go through them and show the blog reading public the portions of the reports that the major media "journalists" deliberately do not mention in their all important "analysis".

The reason I started blogging was simple and addresses this whole debate in my mind.

Bloggers do give their opinions or analysis of any given situation, agreed, but bloggers do something that the professional journalists do not....we provide links to the original sources to which we use to determine our opinions and analysis.

We give our readers a chance to read the original reports, data, PDF's, court papers, whatever the case may be, then those readers can decide for themselves if they agree with our "analysis" or if they come to a different conclusion.

We don't hide relevant facts to make the pieces match our preconceived ideas....we provide sources, we link.

Before I started blogging, I heard the news, read some online news articles, but found what I was getting was the writers opinion and when I looked for the original source to be able to form my own opinion, you know where I found the links to the original sources?

Bloggers. Blogs. Before I even knew exactly what a blog was.

So, to Mr. Mulshine, a quick note..... if journalists want to stay relevant, they need to stop thinking their opinion is the only opinion, they need to start providing links to the original sources and stop expecting people to take their word as the word of God.

Otherwise, those army of Davids, are definitely going to start reporting original pieces and they will be trusted more because they will provide something the old media, the mainstream media, refuse to..... the facts to go along with a "journalist's" opinion.