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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blogging and journalism

Today's assignment was to consider the relationship between blogging and journalism. As both a budding blogger and aspiring journalist, I'm a little torn. I like blogging, I like journalism. I don't want either to disappear, nor do I want one to be revered over the other.

Of the articles assigned, Staci D. Kramer's "Journos and Bloggers: Can Both Survive?" resonated most with me. Instead of forcing debates of which is better or whether blogging should replace journalism, Kramer refuses to see the two as separate entities. Here she puts it best:
The constant drum beat of the notion that blogging and journalism are mutually exclusive -- that one can or will replace the other, that one is better than the other, that they don't require each other to exist -- damages all involved.
Recognizing that the two mediums are unique yet interdependent certainly appeases my thoughts, but is there truth in it? I'm pretty sure there is, and so is Kramer. Later on in her article, she lists things that bloggers and journalists can learn from each other:

What journalists can learn from bloggers:
-- you can blur the line between the personal and professional without corrupting the process;
-- you can learn to improvise in real time;
-- how to have a conversation with their readers;
-- to be humble - you don't know everything.

Bloggers can learn from journalists:
-- the value of leg work;
-- the nature of accountability;
-- that editing is a good thing;
-- to be humble - you don't know everything.

These are all valuable points on both ends, especially for those wearing press hats. That first point, that you can blend the personal and professional, is especially important, and from my assessment, effective.

Take the Missourian's account of the events that culminated with Quin Snyder's resignation. Our classmate and a lead reporter said the story was the best of any paper that Sunday, and I tend to agree. He and his co-writer could have easily recounted the events in a traditional, inverted pyramid news-story format. Instead, Columbians got a easy to read narrative full of clear voice and conversational dialogue. Using blog-entry characteristics, the Quin reporters turned the article into a true story.

And the first on the list for blogger lessons holds some weight, too. Look at Jim Robertson's blog at the Columbia Tribune. He posted two entries on Jan. 30, the second merely to report information he missed in his first attempt at research. A little more leg work the first time around could have helped his point.

(cross-posted from a melange)

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