I’ve talked about the effect of blogging on the field of journalism in previous entries, but this will go more in depth.
The invention of the Internet has strengthened the everyday individual’s access to freedom of press. The cost of producing and distributing publications is now minimal to non-existent. The bigger news outlets, or the people with money, could no longer control the publishing game. Blogging has made the press more democratic, because anyone’s voice can be heard, and it would be much harder to suppress.
How Blogs Intersect with Journalism:
- Give first-hand reports from ongoing events
- Go further than a journalist because they have more time
- Act as a gatewatcher
Gatewatchers: (filterbloggers) follow mainstream media and decide on stories to display based on their interests
Personal Authenticity: an independent blogger must build trust with individuals by being genuine
Institutional Credibility: a journalist’s credibility stems from the brand of the institution they work for
Blogging has changed the role of mainstream news. People no longer look to the big names in Television or Newspapers to get all of their information on current events. Aside from blogs, there are an infinite number of other sources besides those such as CNN or The New York Times.
As I’ve said in a previous post, bloggers can be journalists, and journalists can be bloggers. However, most bloggers do not think of themselves as journalists. No matter if journalists are beginning to blog, the invention of blogging has changed journalism. They are not under the same constraints and have access to different tools and resources.
Bloggers own up to their biases, which make the readers trust them more. The individuals with whom they have built a sense of trust see them as credible – they have to work to establish it. Bloggers can be more relatable than a faceless, objective journalist.
First Hand Reports
The real-time ability of the Internet has changed the reporting on wars. Both citizens and soldiers, such as Salam Pax and Lieutenant Smash, can blog on a daily basis about what is happening and how they feel about it. However, since the information is shared immediately after it is posted, this makes it much stronger than finding out what the war was like after it has ended. Journalists can then use these types of blogs in their reports, since people can relate to them.
Other first-hand bloggers do not set out to reach a wide audience, but their experience of certain important current events greatly increases their readers. The ability to post many short updates over a period of time, demonstrates the value of Twitter. We quickly read what is happening and feel like we are as up to date as possible.
Since bloggers can appear to be more authentic, people like the idea that they will give an honest first-hand account of what they are experiencing. These types of bloggers have become important for those concerned with wars and politics. They can get the same access as journalists, but provide a product that is not restricted by any institution.
- Input – news gathered by journalists
- Output – news is published
- Response – readers comment on the news
Bloggers are now able to control what will be published in the mainstream media. They are changing the structure of the system by monitoring the output phase. They help decide what stories people will read based on how interesting they are. They also look for errors and are not afraid to provide feedback to mainstream new sources. Bloggers provide an important perspective, as they sometimes do their own research and provide their own version of the story.
Bloggers link to mainstream media, and journalists cite blogs. The two fields both intersect and depend on each other to reach their full potential. Where would blogging be without mainstream media, and where would the mainstream media be without blogging?
Journalism of Verification
How is a journalist able to be so objective? How is he able to disregard his own bias and ensure the accuracy of the story? This is where verification comes into play. Every journalist has a different process, but there are some techniques that almost all journalists use by nature. What separates journalism from entertainment is its goal to tell the absolute truth.
The meaning of this term in the eyes of journalism has changed over time. It was originally used to say that journalists needed to use a standard method on checking facts. As Walter Lippman suggested, journalists needed to approach their work as a science. Today, it is used to mean the journalist is not biased, which is pretty much impossible to eliminate.
Journalism of Assertion
The Internet has changed the availability of facts, which has also changed the role of the journalist. They are focusing more and more of writing stories that are based on already established news but add something new, such as an interpretation.
The principles of fairness and balance are actually tools in this scientific process: tools that journalists use to reach the truth. While it is important to convey both sides equally, it is also important to make sure that your story reflects what is actually happening in the world. If one side is much bigger, you need to let the reader know.
Science of Reporting
- Don’t add anything that did not happen
- Don’t deceive your readers
- Be transparent about how and why you are writing this
- Be original – do your own work
- Be humble
- Skeptical Editing – break down the story line by line (or even word be word) and ask every question possible, as though you are a skeptic
- Accuracy Checklist
- Assume Nothing
- Tom French’s Colored Pencil
- Anonymous Sources