What\’s a Blog? Bag the Stereotypes

Over the past year weblogs have become a popular topic of conversation – both in private discussion and at conferences and other events. Understandably, a lot of people who are talking about blogs have little or no experience with weblogs. For a variety of reasons, these weblog neophytes often are the ones who start or lead high-profile discussions about blogging, especially within organizations and at conferences.

While it’s good that weblog neophytes are considering and talking about blogs at all, they often fall prey to, and perpetuate, a fair amount of misinformation – especially stereotypes. Here are some clarifications on how to understand and discuss weblogs, in order to avoid those pitfalls…

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What Bloggers and Journalists Can Learn from Each Other (part 4)

(NOTE: This is the final article in a series. You may want to start from the beginning.)

Media is constantly evolving. So is the social and cultural context in which media exists. If journalism is to survive, it must adapt to the changing media landscape. This means much more than reposting print or broadcast stories on the web. It means taking a hard look at how journalism is practiced. It means accepting a new context, and changing how journalism gets done to remain relevant in the current context.

Similarly, weblogs are not wholly new or independent. They stand on the shoulders of media giants – including traditional news organizations. Given this interdependence, bloggers can benefit from understanding journalism more thoroughly, in theory and in practice.

Here are a few ideas on what bloggers and journalists can learn from each other, and how they might work together to complement each other…

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Transparency vs. Substantiation: Two Sides of the Credibility Coin (Part 3)

(NOTE: This is part 3 in a series. You may want to start from the beginning.)

Who can you trust? What should you believe? These are core questions for any news audience, in any media.

When trying to understand what’s happening, or to make meaning out of current events or trends, it’s important to decide how much you should trust or believe particular sources of news, commentary, and analysis. Thus, credibility is key to news reporting and discussion.

But what is credibility, really?…

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Are Bloggers Journalists? Who Really Cares? (Part 2)

(NOTE: This is part 2 of a series. You might want to start reading from the beginning.)

At sessions like the SPJ seminar I attended last Saturday, there’s a lot of hand-wringing over whether bloggers are (or can be) “real” journalists. Many reporters and editors who work for mainstream news organizations seem especially uncomfortable with the notion that bloggers might be infiltrating their club.

The funny thing is that while journalists appear anxious to bar the doors, bloggers generally don’t care whether they’re admitted to the journalism club. That’s right: There is no significant movement among bloggers to be generally recognized as journalists.

So why all the fuss?…

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Ads in Feeds? OK, If…

The issue of whether ads are OK in feeds has flared once again – this time between Dave Winer and Jason Calcanis. Frankly, I think both of those guys are being needlessly pigheaded and adversarial. They’re not moving this important conversation forward. Yet another example of the profound limits of argument culture. Blech.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with ads in feeds, as long as they’re handled in a way that complements the real content and suits the target audience. Here are my suggested guidelines for putting ads in feeds…

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Ethics, Blogging, and Journalism: The Not-So-Wild West (Part 1)

Index to this series:

  1. Ethics, blogging, and journalism: The not-so-wild West
  2. Are bloggers journalists? Who really cares?
  3. Transparency vs. Substantiation: Two Sides of the Credibility Coin
  4. What bloggers and journalists can learn from each other

Is the internet a lawless frontier rife with wild natives, verbal shootouts, vigilante commentary, quotes and facts as unverified as patent medicine claims, and content rustlers who skulk away with the bounty of legitimate news organizations?

You might think so, listening to how some mainstream journalists and editors phrase their remarks and questions about blogging.

Fortunately, this cowboys-and-Indians stance is neither deep nor universal. Sustained discussion between bloggers and journalists reveals our budding interdependence, how much we can learn from each other, and how much we can help each other. Anyway, that’s what I witnessed at a seminar I attended a couple of days ago…

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