Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blogger and Journalist are not synonymous

I came back from a short holiday from writing to find a comment on one of my hubpages (here) from someone calling themselves riley who was so overcome with whatever the hell they were feeling that they felt the need to put me in my place.

The first post was nothing worth thinking about but the persons second post did bring up something that I do kind of care about...

riley says:

26 hours ago

and way to prove her point for sustaining the belief that theres a video leak out there without fact-checking. oustanding journalism, you got going on.

This comment would be hilarious if it were not for the fact that it's not the first time I've seen someone complain that a blogger (and not just me) did not have journalistic integrity.

I personally don't - but that's just because I'm not a fucking journalist except in the loosest possible definition. I'm a blogger that writes about shit that I find humorous or that pisses me off or both. Pretty much 'fact checking' for me only goes as far as making sure I didn't completely make it up in my head and my integrity extends only to the fact that I don't make up a quote or story out of thin air.

Lets take a look at the definition of journalism;

  • Main Entry: jour·nal·ism
  • Pronunciation: \ˈjər-nə-ˌli-zəm\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1828

1 a : the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media b : the public press c : an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium 2 a : writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine b : writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation c : writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest

So I guess if you go by 2C I (and alot of other bloggers) might possibly squeak by as journalists - keep in mind though 2C does not mention anything about; facts, academia, or news.

Definition 2C aside, when people talk about journalists and lofty notions of journalism I doubt very much they are talking about me or any of the other idiots that write (barely) entertaining articles that make fun of celebrities because we think they are stupider than we are.

I bet if you walked up to Dan Walters from the Sacramento Bee or Gerald Marzorati and referred to private bloggers as journalists they punch you right in the mouth. In the case of Dan Walters he would probably kick your ass until someone pulled him off - because I think that might be how he rolls. Hell for that matter walk up to Gordon Ramsey and hand him a grilled cheese sandwich and tell him about how you are a Chef too - let me know how he responds.

I know some professional journalists blog, but most of us are not one of them. If you self publish articles it does not make you a journalist and if you make up your own Internet 'radio' show it does not make you a talk show host any more than playing Mobsters on Facebook makes you a frigging mob boss. I read a quote from a novelist once that said essentially that if you are not cashing checks from a publisher you are not a writer - you're just someone who writes.

I guess 'journalist' is just going to be another of those words that have been watered down to the point of being pretty much meaningless - like calling reality contestants celebrities or calling anyone who disagrees with you a nazi.