They want to be journalists?

On an everyday level, we don’t care about whether bloggers can call themselves journalists or not. But sometimes, the distinction can be a very important matter. Because blogging has become an important part of digital media, a lot of people create their own page and interact with others, even with people who bloggers themselves have not seen. Then, a problem would come out. As all people have the right for freedom of speech, bloggers can write whatever they want to. However, depending on the content of blogs, bloggers have to be politic in their behavior, if there are legal problems when they publish journalistic topics, such as news and current events. There are hundreds of laws which prescribe the right of journalism, but how can blogging be authorized?
Jill Walker Rettberg, professor of digital culture at the University of Bergen in Norway, then redefined the nature of journalism to make sure the definitions of blogs and other forms of user-created media. As you know, Journalism should be objective and reliable, and the editor and the brand of the newspaper or broadcast medium itself stand as guarantees of this. But blogging is not being in the same way. Here is an interesting quote:

“There is a quest for truth in blogging. But it is a truth with a question mark.
Truth here has become an amateur project, not an absolute value, sanctioned by higher authorities.”
–Lovink 2007b, 13

According to Rettberg’s article, some bloggers care about the objectivity and credibility of what they write and some don’t so much. Interestingly, however, readers of these blogs perceive the fact and read them because each bloggers build trust individually. It is the point that makes blogs different from journalism, that is traditional media. Most of us are more likely to trust a news story offered by the Guardian or the New York Times because these media companies have built their trusts so far. On the other hand, bloggers have to get attention by themselves not by the evaluation and rumor of others from ages ago unless the blog is founded by big names. Moreover, news was expected to be neutral report in order to reach the largest people, but the interesting point of blogs is how they can write their ideas differently and attract attention of audiences. The great example of this is a blogger Salam Pax and he writes his daily life in Baghdad in his blog. Even if a professional writes excellent article about the situation there, the experience of hearing directly from a person who was there must be more touching to audiences.

Discussion Question:
1. How can we draw the border between blogs that people read just for fun without accusing the credibility and that have to provide some verification as journalism?
2. Do people really need standardized blogs? (Can’t people evaluate and pick up blogs by themselves?)

related stories:
Are All Bloggers Journalists?
U.S. Court: Bloggers Are Journalists


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