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Why blogging is bad for journalism January 15, 2010

Posted by friedgreenbananafish in Assignments, Journalism.

There are two main arguments that every professional journalist (and journalism student) has heard over and over again as to why blogging is bad for journalism.

They are:

1. Blogs are opinion; Journalism is fact.  Most people can’t tell the difference between the two, therefore the entire field of journalism will be soiled by slanted reporting. 

2. Bloggers are going to put all journalists out on the street.  Why pay someone to report the news when millions are doing it for free?

Christiane Amanpour once said that there are three rules of journalism: 

*Be objective

*Be objective

*Be objective

I don’t think it would come as a shock to anyone to realize that the majority of blogs are run by average individuals ranting about topics they don’t know anything about. 


Anyway, this hardly constitutes as journalism.  And some believe that blog readers are more wise to what’s opinion and what’s fact than they are given credit for.  Kevin Muldoon of the Blog Themes Club believes that fake stories are hurting the credibility of bloggers.  He worries about the bloggers who stage events, make up stories, or even create elaborate hoaxes to bring more traffic to their sites.  He argues that all this will do is backfire in the blogger’s face, and his or her readers decide to get their news elsewhere.

Mark Morford, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, agrees that most people don’t believe blogs have the same credibility as the long-standing pillars of journalism.  According to Morford, “saying ‘I read it on XYZ blog, so it must be true’ still carries little weight in a serious discussion, whereas, ‘I read it in the Washington Post,’ gives you instant authority.”

But why aren’t blogs credible?

Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb writes of a study by crowd-sourced copy editing service GooseGrade that suggests spelling and grammatical errors on a blog are red flags for readers.  The reasoning being that if someone doesn’t even have the brains to run spell-check, they might not have the brains to be analyzing economic trends or providing political commentary, either.

James Mowery of Performancing.com thinks that bloggers who run fake stories to gain popularity and fame will eventually lead to readers having a more scrutinous eye when reading blogs, just as spam messages lead to harsher email filters.

Perhaps he sums it up the best when he says, “bloggers are beginning to prove why journalists still have jobs.


If you’re unsure of which blogs may or may not be credible, I suggest reading this checklist by blogger Steven Streight.



1. Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Blogging helps to make the news a bit more personal - January 31, 2010

[…] his/her? take on ‘Why blogging is good and bad for […]

2. Blogging good or bad for journalism? » iThinkEducation.net! - January 31, 2010

[…] his/her? take on ‘Why blogging is good and bad for […]

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