Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Bloggercon brainfood

Inspired by Bloggercon, Jay Rosen plays with the concepts of journalism, blogging and the interrelationship between the two and comes up with some really deep stuff.
    Blogging is not journalism. When we separate these two things, we honor both. Then we're prepared for the real work of the conference, which is to arrange more imaginatively, in sentences newly drawn, our two key terms-- and to do this not once, but as many times as we can in 90 minutes of conferencing, plus the refelections after. Here's a bit of what I mean:

    Blogging is not journalism, but some journalists are natural bloggers and some bloggers may be natural journalists.

    Blogging is not journalism, but bloggers now filter and edit journalists, and journalists read blogs. (Both facts are new.)

    Blogging-- hey, it's not journalism. But when journalists blog they have to depart from normal practice if they want to tap the weblog's strengths. These are an author's voice, the art of linking, the immediacy and person-to-person tone, the comments section, the conversation with other blogs, tools like Technorati and RSS, none of which shone through in Web Journalism before the weblog's rise.

    Blogging is not journalism, but whereas journalism is on the Web, blogging is deeply of it, and so bloggers are ahead of journalists in learning what the Web is for, and how its ecology works. (To say nothing of its social psychology.)

    Blogging ain't journalism, but more of it should be, if we're serious about "advancing" this form. (Doc Searles says so in a pre-BloggerCon post.)

    Blogging is not journalism. But the blog sphere has a better memory for journalism than most hustling journalists, who are better at forgetting and moving on to the next thing. (What bloggers call their archive, newspaper journalists call the morgue.)

    Blogging is not journalism, but it is journal-ing; and there's a connection at the root there that has to do with recording events through time, then using that record to become fuller creatures of our time. (Thus Dave Winer's probe: Journalism is "an independent view of a series of events," a definition he built for bloggers, so use it if you can.)

    Blogging is not journalism, but as Breslin said, journalists are writers and so are bloggers, which leaves reporting (the strength of journalism) and linking (the weblogger's art) as two differences bound to make a difference.

    Blogging... just don't call it journalism. It's what happens when the readers of journalism turn into writers, and the audience into a talking public. That's a shock to the body of "mass" media, and even if it's only a tiny shock, we can still say it's electric.
I just happened upon this post while I was surfing absentmindedly. While I'm definitely not vested in the 'blogging as journalism' meme, this whole discussion was fascinating. Since I definitely have no ambition to be a journalist nor writer, Jay's post made me think more deeply about my personal reasons for blogging.

My take, which may easily change in the next few days, is that I think blogging fills a need for community. While both blogging and journalism are all about increasing communication, blogging connects with a community, demanding direct participation. Journalism does not necessarily demand a participatory community; it's a more passive activity on the part of the consumer. Blogging and journalism both share the same currency: writing, the use of words to convey information, to persuade, to communicate. The goal and the agenda of both may coincide at times but the vibrancy of the blogging world is chiefly due to the interactive quality and the community behind it. I see a synergistic relationship between the two worlds, though at this time, I see numerous articles in media with major 'tude towards blogs. A bit of an insecurity, perhaps?

Speaking of an example, here's one.