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  1. #1
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    Will Blogging Cause the Demise of Journalism?

    I came from the magazine writing world. There you had several months lead time to prepare an article, editors to give it the once over and an art department to design graphics.

    Now I write mostly on for blogs where I have an hour lead time (entertainment news!), no editor and I am the art department.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the pace of blogging - but there are times when I miss the finer points of journalism. I see the difference often when there is a conference call with several writers and an actor.

    I take the transcript and write an "article" (even though it's for a blog). I shape the piece with my impressions and other information, but while I'm doing that two other blogs have posted the entire transcript without any additional content and it's all out there.

    I just wonder if blogging is causing journalism to become a lost art?

  2. #2
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    no
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  3. #3
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    I think that in some ways maybe, but overall, no. What we have is the internet giving voices to more people. It's great because some people (like myself) wouldn't have had a chance to have a voice, but it's bad, of course, because some of these people that are now given a voice really are best kept quiet because they are slimeballs. But, that's the internet. It can make the great, greater and it can make the worse, even worse. It's about you. What do you want to do for your blog? What do you need to do? There will always be room for well researched and thought out articles. There is also value in transcripts, too, in that some people would say they are sick of having journalists, writers, columnists shape how an article sounds - they'd rather just hear exactly what the person said. There is room for both.

    I practice what I would call responsible blogging. I'd call it journalism, though it's not as strict as the background you talked about. Basically, it's considering what you are reporting and checking with sources and, if you need to post something as a rumor, make sure that you clearly mention it's a rumor and caution your readers to that effect.

    I own/write for a fan site dedicated to a record label (Bad Boy Entertainment). We're really the best source of news on that label. We break great stories with regularity because I have spent time building up an extensive network of contacts at and around the company. I pride myself on not just passing along info, but also trying to find out if it's true. For example:

    A few days or so ago, the Daily Mail and the Daily Star were reporting that Sean "Diddy" Combs was changing his official stage name again to Sean John. And about 50 Google News listed outlets picked it up and ran with it as a fact. I read these reports and I thought "this is weird. If Diddy was going to announce this sort of thing, why would he choose some publication in the UK or Asia or something? Announcing it in the U.S., not in some side quote, would generate the most press." Diddy's a smart guy, so I doubted he'd have done it like that. Sensing that this was wrong, I held off on reporting it. Someone left a comment on the blog mentioning it to me and I said I was looking into it and that my guess was that either he was misquoted or someone ran with something he said and stretched it to make a story.

    I contacted three sources and I heard back from his publicist and she gave me their official comment on it. No, it was not true, his quote had been misinterpreted and she explained why. Within 20-30 minutes, I had an article published. A short article, with some background on why I had held off on the story, that featured the official statement. We were the first outlet to report that the story was false. I contacted maybe 20 outlets that had printed the story that had been proven false to just politely let them know and to give them a link to my story. Only one replied and it was at a larger one and it was a pretty standard "thank you for your message" sort of thing. I don't think I got a single link out of it from anyone.

    And then, a couple hours later, MTV reported the story with the statement from the publicist (I'm sure she sent the statement out to loads of outlets). And then a bunch of people linked to MTV and MTV is listed in Google News. Meanwhile, Google News has deemed my site inappropriate for indexing... but, that's another frustration.

    A few days before this story, even, we had another story with the former Senior Director of A&R at the label. In early January, a rumors section at a major hip hop site as well as a huge gossip site (that I have no idea why anyone reads because 90% of their stories are nonsense, if not more) reported that he had left the label and that it was because of money and, perhaps, the work environment. In other words, he was unhappy.

    I spoke with him in like the third week of January, weeks after this story had been passed around. I hadn't had time to chase it down (and, apparently, no one else had bothered). I contacted him directly via e-mail and asked for his comment. That was like 10:00 PM at night. He replied within 10 minutes asking for a phone number. I gave it and, within the hour from when I e-mailed him (or about that), he called and we spoke. He told me that he had left the company, but that it was not because of him being unhappy - he's now the President of a different company, so he was moving on to better things. He even told me that Bad Boy had offered him a substantial raise to stay and that he had no problems with the work environment, saying that Diddy and another top exec were like brothers to him and were supportive of his move, even though they wanted him to stay.

    He also told me that he reached out to the gossip site (he named them, I won't name them since they aren't worth it) to clear this up and they didn't reply to him. I told him I wasn't surprised. And we had a nice chat and he said to contact him if should need anything in the future. He was a nice guy. Keep in mind that this is the first time I'd ever contacted him. We spoke on the phone within an hour of me e-mailing him. So, the only reason that someone couldn't have reached out to him to verify is because they were either lazy or they don't want to know the truth (and can get a better story out of a lie). None of this is particularly surprising, of course, as some people do whatever they possibly can to try to make some companies and celebrities look back, but it serves as a nice reminder. The truth is still important to me (as a writer and a fan).

    The point is... journalism is not dead, you just have to be willing to do it, even when you feel pressures not to. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Absolutely not. Most blogging isn't anything like journalism. The additional 'noise' and overload of information, opinions, etc. might actually rejuvenate the journalism field as people seek to find and confirm credible sources for information rather than just opinion.
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  5. #5
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    iFroggy - great story and it really goes to the heart of what I'm talking about. Blogging has made it so easy to post a story in seconds and the temptation to do so when everyone else is doing it is just so great!

    I think I should have made a distinction in my first post about the kinds of blogs I'm talking about. I read plenty of personal chatty blogs where that's what I expect, water cooler chat about life, love and the car breaking down again!

    But then there are the "news" blogs and sites that I feel have more of a responsibility to get it right. Check the facts, and then put it out there with authority.

  6. #6
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    Considering some magazines use blog software as a backend to post their stories, I'd say no.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    I often frequent websites about Formula 1. The site I prefer the most is Pitpass.com. Their stories are generally more accurate than the rest and they actually make an attempt to find out the real story before posting anything, and if they do they're pretty good at pointing out what is a rumour and what isn't.

    So basically I'm heading to the sites which make an attempt at REAL journalism. It's not a conscious thing, it just happens as a matter of process. After a while you eventually realise that some sites are reporting a load of bull and others report the facts.

    I suspect traditional journalism is/will feel some pressure from the blogging world though. But I don't consider that a bad thing. Competition (hopefully) will improve the breed.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say it will cause the demise of journalism, but the pace of modern technology change is making it adapt/evolve.

  9. #9
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    It's a different mode of communication and introduce of new technology but it it will NOT cause the demise of journalism..

  10. #10
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    IMO, so many Blogs are poorly written .. and other are poorly written and SPAM. I see Blogs losing credibility faster than most forms of text presentation.

    Blogs have been high on the SE page because of Goolgle's involvement, not because of good writing.

  11. #11
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    I agree with the sentiment that the only factors I see changing are the pace and the medium. People will still prefer credible information, which is why, IMO, it is crucial for any one who is publishing online to create a credible [brand] name.

  12. #12
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    no way

    i still visit sites like guardian.co.uk / economist.com / nytimes.com etc etc

    simply because the quality of writing and indepth insights and opinions are alot better than most blogs can offer



    your average blog is written with adsense in mind, not the user, once they realize that its the users that matter they will make alot more money

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    With any luck, yes. Most blogs I read are better researched, more accurate and more interesting than the tripe they tend to print in the papers these days - especially in the UK.

    The past 5 years or so have seen the quality of printed journalism drop considerably IMHO. For example, in "In Gear" the tech and driving supplement of the Sunday Times in the UK, they had an article about the new Lotus Elise SC - Where the author went on for the whole article, thinking that it was a supercharged version of the Elise S ("the C standing for compressor" - wrong, the SC meaning SuperCharged), which it isn't at all, it's a supercharged version of the Elise R. Now that may seem like a tiny detail to some, but we're talking a well read, well respected paper, making a v. v. basic error (and there were a lot more in the article as well)
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  14. #14
    Non-Member Musicbox's Avatar
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    journalism is on other hand and blogging is different part. dont misunderstand between two.

  15. #15
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    Don't sure coz their are not competing they can be combined thereby for constant online users of course blogs are preferred but still...

  16. #16
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    There is competition, but I still think the bigger news sources will absorb the more popular bloggers, not visa versa.

  17. #17
    Jewish Juggernaut mkoenig's Avatar
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    I don't think so, however i do think it will help redefine it.

  18. #18
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    Thanks, Cynthiab.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Evangelist tetsuo shima's Avatar
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    It depends on what you call journalism. Take the way journalism was done in the 70s, take the state of journalism is today and well...

    Anyway, no matter what is left, I, for one, think it is.

    Let me start with a few digressions to explain my point here. Let's first consider what happened when everyone, you and me, your parents etc. has started using microsoft word? Layout and its infinite subtleties have died. Sure there are still knowledgeable people when it comes to layout, sure there still are well-crafted pages. But on a very large scale, it's a ridiculously small amount of the production. And since people are used to a Word page payout, any layout seems ok nowadays.

    Let's now remember about what happened when dreamweaver and the likes hit the market. How many websties are currently satisfying code-wise? We could be tempted to listen to the sensation that, yeah, a lot of them are. But that's because we see each other's work, and we happen to be concerned with accessibility and usability. As far as the rest of the web designers are concerned... And I am not even talking about layout precepts in the www. Oh no, don't get me started on this.

    Let's talk about the www content now. From my point of view, it sucks (not always, but most of the time). Sure you, reader, are sure to be a good blogger. You all are, I am certain. The fact is: most of what I read is not interesting, not well-crafted, not well-structured etc. Just a bunch of thoughts about any given matter. A few links that are supposed to be trustable proofs of what you are saying and....that's it. How long have you studied journalism or any other writing approach btw?

    And the crowd loves it. Blogs make money, bloggers are stars. Yeah.

    Which brings me to my darkest, and scariest, point. What can be defined as "fine work" is very subjectiv. If the crowd is getting used to that absence of structure, investigation and questioning well why not give it what it wants? And you have to wonder, given that, why wouldn't journalism follow?

    I have noticed a decrease of quality in the publications I read in the three last years or so. It made me feel very uneasy and left me wondering: have I become that negativ to always think it was better before? So I went to a library, checked the newspapers archive of my fav newspaper, I went back fifteen years or so, compared my findings with today's articles, and the difference was astonishing. Beyond my darkest fears. Which led me to consider that if we forget what once was, no one's gonna miss it. Hence the "stupidification" of the masses. After all, if the Greek language has been forgotten for centuries, anything can be, quality journalism included (btw, the fine art of layout has an history with being forgotten for centuries, which is funny, right?).

    In conclusion, I will relate what happened in the art magazine I write for (in French, and I'm sorry for my rotten English which, as you can see, prevents me from being equal to what I'm preaching) a few months ago. There were lengthy, yet very readable, articles in this magazine. Now the editors are wondering how to make it sound "more to the beat". So bloggers have been hired. And these bloggers write a lot of real short texts, the kind of stuff that is written in an hour, that just presents a bunch of facts (without considering what they could mean or their implications), put them together, avoid any further reflexion and they sound like an advertsing, like they want to make me buy something.

    Has anyone read free newspapers? It sounds like a blog on paper to me. So is journalism gone? It survives. And don't not think that because you read a good magazine the rest of the world does. And do not think that because you have bookmarked a few good blogs (or what you consider to be good blogs) the rest of the world has. And you have to answer that kind of questions on a world based scale.

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  20. #20
    SitePoint Enthusiast pinkyslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkoenig View Post
    I don't think so, however i do think it will help redefine it.
    I kinda agree with this saying. The internet itself is evolving into something different and we all have to roll with the punches. Blogging wont mess up anything. I may raise eyebrows when you read blogs that are just too broad and someone does not know what they are talking about. Look at some of the Wiki sites and pages, those are loosing their credibility.

    Interesting thought and it makes you think about the whole subject deeply.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthiab View Post
    I came from the magazine writing world. There you had several months lead time to prepare an article, editors to give it the once over and an art department to design graphics.

    Now I write mostly on for blogs where I have an hour lead time (entertainment news!), no editor and I am the art department.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the pace of blogging - but there are times when I miss the finer points of journalism. I see the difference often when there is a conference call with several writers and an actor.

    I take the transcript and write an "article" (even though it's for a blog). I shape the piece with my impressions and other information, but while I'm doing that two other blogs have posted the entire transcript without any additional content and it's all out there.

    I just wonder if blogging is causing journalism to become a lost art?
    I do not believe that traditional journalism will die. In fact people online still visit the online newspapers.

    Regarding speed, why don't you try to release the full transcript, and at the end of the article stating to come back for a detailed analysis.

    Like this you will be an authority and a news site at the same time.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Addict ruby-lang's Avatar
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    I think the problem is it's too hard to compete with the tabloid/throwaway blog style when your business model depends on showing ads to lots of readers, because while the hardcore fans will remember when you publish trash, the digg masses are just after the next scandal.

    Since subscriptions don't seem to work in the web, serious journalists will have to keep experimenting with other business models or hope their work to build credibility pays off somehow.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Zealot jvr's Avatar
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    Blogging is an expression of your thoughts or feelings to something. Journalism is a very broad subject so it's really hard to say that blogging will cause the demise of journalism.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Enthusiast pinkyslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvr View Post
    Blogging is an expression of your thoughts or feelings to something. Journalism is a very broad subject so it's really hard to say that blogging will cause the demise of journalism.
    Exactly!!! TOO BROAD!!!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvr View Post
    Blogging is an expression of your thoughts or feelings to something.
    o rly?

    here is the quintessential blog: http://robotwisdom.com/, a web log consisting of links to interesting stuff, hardly an "expression of your thoughts or feelings to something"

    and in case you doubt the veracity of what that site actually is, please remember that that is the guy who invented the word blog

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