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October 11, 2005

Bloggers are Journalists? or No?

Are bloggers journalists? The debate spins on. But does it matter?

Shield Law Sponsor: Bloggers ‘Probably Not’ Considered Journos :

Bloggers would “probably not” be considered journalists under the proposed federal shield law, the bill’s co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), told the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) Monday afternoon.

What is so important or defining about being a real journalist? I understand the concepts that their right to report things, and how they report things, are both fundamental to the illusion of democracy, but the noise and chatter at the bottom often leads to the big stories, which frequently end up getting spun for political manipulation by biased pundits in the mainstream media anyhow.

Squashing public dissent is common to American corporate culture. Stories from bottoms up pieces of the non real journalism get picked up by big media & generally make silencing critics backfire badly. But it all works together as pieces of machinery. To separate it out is to miss the bigger picture of how it all works.

What happens if a blogger also wrote a book? What happens if they are a journalist and a blogger in their spare time? Does it really matter how you make your money?

What makes a person not a journalist just because they chose to use a blog to publish their thoughts? Lets say that blogs are classified as non journalism. What does that really mean? It doesn’t mean they get any less exposure than official media sites.

When I was recently mentioned on both and the Atrios blog sent me over 100 times the traffic did.

Some journalists do not like the idea of defining journalists:

A key reason some journalists oppose the popular federal shield proposal is fear that giving Congress the power to define who is and isn’t a journalist could lead effectively to the licensing of journalists.

Licensing journalists wouldn’t make the profession any cleaner, better, or more honest IMHO. Good journalism is still going to look for stories wherever the conversations are. The best journalists are going to have to earn their credibility and trust with their readers and sources.

Ultimately how people are classified probably does not matter as much as what influence they have on the world around them. I will take uncertified person with reach over qualified without exposure any day. So long as the courts are willing to protect citizens rights then I am fine just being a blogger 🙂

Meanwhile, the unedited bloggers continue to gain new distribution channels.

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