Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet News

In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal? 156

Posted by samzenpus
from the but-I-play-one-on-tv dept.
oztechmuse (2323576) writes "As the source of news moves increasingly away from traditional channels to the millions of people carrying mobile phones and sharing commentary, photos and video on social networks, the distinction between journalists and bloggers has become increasingly blurred. Making sense of this type of information has been as much a challenge for journalists as it has bloggers. Journalists, like bloggers, have had to learn new skills in working in this environment. Highlighting this has been the release of the Verification Handbook which attempts to educate journalists in how to process user-generated content in the form of videos or images acknowledging that much of the reporting about situations, especially emergency ones, comes from the public. The techniques outlined are accessible to anyone reporting on a story, adding to the eroding gap between bloggers and journalists."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:11AM (#46563341)

    Shield laws mean that professional (read: attached to a major news organization) journalists will always be more legitimate than bloggers, as they have legal protections that bloggers can only dream about.

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:18AM (#46563389) Homepage Journal

      Shield laws mean that professional (read: attached to a major news organization) journalists will always be more legitimate than bloggers, as they have legal protections that bloggers can only dream about.

      Not according to the 9th Circuit Court [theatlantic.com]. Bloggers are journalists, according to that ruling.

      • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:42AM (#46563557) Journal

        That's a new direction which, fortunately, courts are shifting towards -- that there are no meaningful distinctions between journalists AKA "The Press", in First Amendment terms, and everybody else merely exercising First Amendment free speech.

        Some say there should be no distinction at all w.r.t. speech, which I agree with. You know Congress would try to restrict speech by restricting presses under some trumped-up rationale. That's why that clause is there, not to grant a larger free speech pass to the press.

    • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:59AM (#46563759) Homepage Journal

      The problematic word really IS "verified". No journalist should ever have to be "verified". Want to be a member of the press? Just print a card with the word "PRESS" in bold letters. Did Thomas Paine carry a press card? Was Ben Frankiin "verified"? Screw any member or agency of gubbermint that wants to "verify" a journalist!

      • by nbauman (624611) on Monday March 24, 2014 @01:00PM (#46565003) Homepage Journal

        I write about medicine. I read the journals and go to the conferences.

        I was passing by New York City Hall (during the Giuliani Administration) and I saw a demonstration by AIDS activists, something that I had been covering. I always like to talk to the real people involved, so I tried to get over to the demonstration.

        Giuliani put a locked gate around City Hall. I had to stop by a guard post. I told the guard what I was doing, and he told me I needed press identification. I told him that I should be able to go to the demonstration simply as a member of the general public. But he was an asshole on a power trip and insisted that I needed a press ID. Finally I saw somebody else walk through without press ID, so I just walked through myself.

        I later called up City Hall to complain about the guard, and went through a long series of written complaints to supervisors who were perpetually on vacation or had been moved to a different job. Finally the City Hall guards let some politician's friend with a gun into City Hall without screening, and he shot and killed a City Council member. It was no longer a good time to press on with a complaint like that.

        I also called the City Hall press office and asked them what the requirements were for a press card. They were actually reasonable as written. The original purpose of a press card is to let you cross police lines during a fire or other emergency, or big events or demonstrations, and they gave press cards to reporters who regularly covered them for news media. Counter-cultural publications like the Village Voice and WBAI-FM got press cards. Less formally, they let the cops know when the reporters were watching so they didn't beat up demonstrators with cameras around. With time, press passes turned into a prestige item that publishers and other freeloaders used to try to get out of speeding tickets, get free admission to the circus, cage free meals at restaurants, etc. You had to fill out a form and apply, documenting that you actually do cover events where a press card is useful. I thought that it might actually make a good story, for the National Writers Union newsletter or someplace, "How to get a police press card."

        I decided that I don't need your fucking press card. I can find out enough just by exercising the rights I have as an ordinary citizen, and exercising my willingness to go to jail if that's what it takes, to get my readers the information that they want and have a right to know.

        One of the things that always amused me was the outrage of the press (like the New York Times) when the cops beat up their reporters during a demonstration (at the Chicago 1968 Democratic Convention, for example). Why weren't you doing your job of reporting the truth when we were getting beaten up by the cops, in front of your own eyes?

        So blogger, shmogger. You don't need a press pass to write journalism. All you need are your rights under the Constitution and the willingness to get beaten up and go to jail.

        • Guh, can we please stop with the Constitution-worship? You sound like a right-wing extremist. You nullify your own point when that person killed someone in City Hall. WTF, don't you understand you morons can't be trusted? That's why we have journalist credentials in the first place!!
      • The problematic word really IS "verified". No journalist should ever have to be "verified". Want to be a member of the press? Just print a card with the word "PRESS" in bold letters. Did Thomas Paine carry a press card? Was Ben Frankiin "verified"? Screw any member or agency of gubbermint that wants to "verify" a journalist!

        Exactly. Once you require that press members be "verified" by some outside agency, you've brought the press under political control. All someone would need to do to control the press w

    • by davecb (6526)
      Indeed: the answer to the question is a venn diagram, not a boolean (:-))
  • by Stolpskott (2422670) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:17AM (#46563379)

    Journalists (as the world's professional content creators) versus Bloggers (the world's amateur - sometimes very much so - content creators) are similar in the same way that the guy hacking together application code in his bedroom in his spare time is the same as the salaried analyst programmer employed full time to do that.

    They both produce content, and the amateur may produce content which would be considered of an acceptable standard by the professional. But the average amateur produces content which is of a much lower standard than the average professional (no, I have no specific citation to prove that, other than my own experience of working with both types on projects).

    • It's more rule than exception that the quality of the professional is on the same level of the amateur. Both in "journalism" and "software development".

    • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:44AM (#46563579) Journal

      None of that precludes equal protection under the law. Everybody has the same rights as a journalist, or any other person. As such, we all have the right not to answer to any authority. Unfortunately the average person doesn't have the heavy weaponry needed to protect those rights.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CauseBy (3029989)

      I agree with your headline but not with your post. The answer is no, bloggers and journalists are not equal, because blogs are the source of most high-quality journalism. Especially for science and politics, "professional" journalists in the Western world produce lamentably bad stories. The bloggers routinely have to fact-check and provide appropriate context for stories that a journalist could have corrected with five minutes on Ask Jeeves.

      It is true that there are a small number of very good pro journalis

      • by gnick (1211984)

        The right question to ask is, what is the source of MOST of the HIGH QUALITY news, and the answer to that is blogs.

        I'd say a better question is what is the average level of quality produced. CNN, Fox, BBC, etc. may have their own slant on things, but in general they get most of the facts right. Granted, CNN may post "Child Run Down by Drunk Driver," while Fox reports "Juvenile Vandalizes Lawyer's Car with Fresh Human Blood," describing the same story. But, you generally don't have to slog through a million pages of "My Cat Did the CUTEST THING!!!" or "Aliens Spotted Eating at Denny's" to get there. If the major sour

        • I'd say a better question is what is the average level of quality produced.

          Even using that metric, your conclusion is flawed.

          CNN may post "Child Run Down by Drunk Driver,"

          Or that a plane was swallowed by a black hole...

          you generally don't have to slog through a million pages of "My Cat Did the CUTEST THING!!!"

          Hint: BuzzFeed is not a blog, and most blogs do not have that problem. They have some advertising on the side but so do most commercial news sites (CNN does on the home page).

          The other major proble

          • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

            CNN may post "Child Run Down by Drunk Driver,"

            Or that a plane was swallowed by a black hole...

            What actually happened

            Near the end of CNN's special primetime report on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on Wednesday, anchor Don Lemon read a pair of tweets he received from viewers suggesting the plane's disappearance could be the result of a "black hole," Bermuda Triangle or an occurence akin to the television series "Lost."

            And, it wouldn't surprise me if those tweeters got the suggestion from a blog. I say this because one of my cow-irker repeatedly bombards the rest of us with blogs claiming that the plane was hijacked by the U.S. government to kidnap Chinese scientists, that the plane was then flown to Diego Garcia, and that everyone who was not considered useful is now a slave working in the kitchens of Diego Garcia.

            Journalists and bloggers are not the same, but journalists are slowly sinking to the

      • If you ignore all the low-quality stuff from all sources

        You produce a very biased sample and an invalid result.

    • Yes, but too bad that "Blog" merely describes the media something is published while "Journalism" describes a field of work.

      These are not mutually exclusive.

      You might find Journalism in print medie, radio, TV and blogs, and at the same time might find professional content and cat photos in Blogs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ubrgeek (679399)
        What you said. A "journalist" is someone with a degree in communications, journalism (regardless of print or broadcast). Anyone can provide information and term it "news."

        Just because I can perform CPR doesn't make me a doctor.
        • by gl4ss (559668)

          *Just because I can perform CPR doesn't make me a doctor.*

          no, but it makes you capable of performing cpr and thus capable of giving some first response aid...

          but a degree is not what makes a journalist... thats fucking union guild mentality right there. besides, journalist is just someone who rewrites and analyzes other peoples reports and anyone can be a reporter just as anyone can be a journalist..

        • Why does someone need a college degree in communications to be a journalist? I would think that the only prerequisites to being a good journalist would be the ability to research a subject and the ability to communicate your findings in a clear and informative manner.

          I'm not going to pretend that every blogger is the equal to every journalist, but there are definitely some bloggers (of which few have communications degrees) who are superior to many "professional" members of the press. There are also blogg

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      And like coders, many amateurs are so skilled that they become professionals, and many professionals retire or lose their jobs to become amateurs. It's a continuum, where your ability to move between the groups (be hired or fired) depends largely on merit, but also on a lot of other factors

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Journalists (as the world's professional content creators) versus Bloggers (the world's amateur - sometimes very much so - content creators) are similar in the same way that the guy hacking together application code in his bedroom in his spare time is the same as the salaried analyst programmer employed full time to do that.

      They both produce content, and the amateur may produce content which would be considered of an acceptable standard by the professional. But the average amateur produces content which is

      • I blog and I never simply republish someone else's article (or some company's press release). That's lazy blogging. I always write my own articles in my own words. I'll pull from sources, yes, but those sources are credited and that never constitutes the majority of my writings. Most of the bloggers that I know work in a similar fashion.

        I will freely admit, though, that the "copy-paste" folks give the rest of us a bad name. They're also the reason that PR folks think they can e-mail me with a press rel

    • Groklaw (Score:4, Informative)

      by Quila (201335) on Monday March 24, 2014 @01:07PM (#46565079)

      Groklaw had the best journalistic coverage in the world of the SCO v. IBM case, but it's "just" a blog. There's no fine line where a blog stops being "what I feel" and reports hard news. Take MSNBC, it's 85% commentary, yet still considered news, and their standards, such as using facts and verifying things, aren't that high.

    • by Kremmy (793693)
      The line between amateur and professional is one that is heavily drawn and maintained by a certain class of 'professionals'. It doesn't really matter what industry we're talking about on that one, what matters is the resources behind the individual worker. You create professionals by giving amateurs the resources they need to do their job efficiently and with high quality and by being able to provide them the wisdom (from honest professionals, not 'professional' professionals) they need to understand what m
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Depends, there's investigative journalism and there's a whole lot of news that is simply stating widely known facts about current events, like everything from sports to events to accidents to new products to weather where one newspaper is 95% the same as the next. Other things are more work like food or travel guides, but where the amateur's subject matter knowledge far outshines the journalistic aspects. Yes, journalism is a skill but a lot of "easy" work they did before has been taking over by bloggers an

    • If journalist were giving the "analyst programmer" type of info and news I would agree. But at the moment frankly it feels they are giving you the junior first level tech level support (to continue your analogy). In fact when it comes to technical knowledge , blogger give you are far higher quality technical knowledge that the regurgitated newspaper and tv news.
  • And all people should demand freedom of speech, regardless of their profession, or lack thereof.

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:20AM (#46563407) Homepage
    Rather than asking whether they are equal, we should instead think in terms of how can we verify what they're worth? Is a source quantifiable? If not, it makes little sense to consider whether one type of source is equal to another. Just being able to identify what type of source a source is may be difficult or impossible.
    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:49AM (#46563627) Homepage Journal

      we should instead think in terms of how can we verify what they're worth?

      Agreed. I wrote this [billmcgonigle.com] five years ago and mostly still agree with it:

      Whenever I've been interviewed for a newspaper, words and facts have been twisted and/or just gotten wrong. Whenever I read a popular press article in an area where I have in-depth knowledge, it's wrong, at least in the details.

      So, I just assume that's true all the time and go to specialists for real news reporting. I haven't checked, but I'd assume a place like Jane's would have a good article on this GPS thing.

      How about this business model: be a journalist who's a bona-fide expert on GPS. Write completely accurate, insightful, and helpful news articles on GPS happenings. Charge alot for them.

      The last part is the trick of course. But how many GPS journalists does the world need? No more than a handful. With the Internet it should be possible to greatly reduce the number of generalist journalists and start making 'newspapers' much better with experts. There's probably too much inertia at established papers but a disruptive model seems possible.

    • by wiredlogic (135348) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:18AM (#46563945)

      That just sets up a system where freedom can be revoked for anyone deemed to not have something worthwhile to say or who doesn't meet arbitrary professional standards. Everybody's "equal" but some are more equal than others isn't what the constitution was created for.

      • Look, harping on this ridiculous "Constitution" thing makes you look like a Tea Partier. Journalists are special people who deserve special protections. They are the guardians of our democracy. Bloggers are idiots that post unverifiable bullshit. Don't even pretend that there is any equivalency.
    • by Tokolosh (1256448)

      Rather than asking whether they are equal, we should instead think in terms of how can we verify what they're worth? Is a source quantifiable?

      Before we can verify, or evaluate or quantify, the subject matter must first be published. That right (to publish) is absolute, no matter who you are. Everybody also has the right to verify, and therefore the right to publish is necessary.

  • by Wingsy (761354) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:22AM (#46563423)
    To answer the question, yes, they are equal. They are both pretty much worthless.


    Kinda like this comment.
  • The utility of news and is based on reputation. It does not matter any longer if reputation is based on the publisher or the author. Reputation can be easily researched by readers.

    • Yes, but it shouldn't be. The utility of a news story should be in the verifiable information that is conveyed in the story. "Reputation" can be of some use, but it is far too easy to buy a reputation or flim flam your way into an undeserved good reputation. What might be useful in today's world is to have a linked list of facts and their sources associated with the article. Like what is required in a scholarly article, but with citations that do not interrupt the flow of the story.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        While verifiable facts are important, I generally don't want to read over all the sources and do the verification of all the content myself. And that is where reputation comes in. If a journalist, blogger, or news organization has a good reputation, I can be somewhat confident that I don't have to verify the story that I'm reading, or at least not verify it so thoroughly.
        • by bigpat (158134)

          Sure not too many people would be fact checking a news story, but if a writer provided sources then you or someone else could verify the information from time to time. It is a mistake to trust a news source just because you are familiar with the brand or the journalist.

          Trust, but verified.

          Even the best journalists get sloppy from time to time, brands get bought and sold and become a tool for some other agenda. The best written stories really do provide enough detail about where they are getting their info

  • Seems to me that myths were presented successfully as facts back when dead-tree, radio, and television ruled the roost. Back then, you could scream about falsehoods in newspapers until you turned blue and your word only carried about as far as your voice. Today one can do a good Fisking of most of those articles and get some traction in a wider circle. The biggest problem is the successful rent-seeking efforts of larger, traditional media organizations wooing politicians into granting them special protections that are not afforded to anybody else performing the same tasks as them.
  • It seems that the missing link between blogging and conventional journalism could be a marketplace that enables bloggers to publish content in the mainstream media. Major media sites commonly link to blogs, and some bloggers do op-eds from time to time, but this cross-pollination seems to be the exception, not the rule. A Google Play-like marketplace in which bloggers sell their written pieces (or make them available for free), and from which news service purchases such pieces would eliminate the distinctio

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:34AM (#46563497) Homepage
    This story brought to you by Slashdot, which barely attempts to editing.
    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:53AM (#46563685)

      which barely attempts to editing.

      "Attempts to editing"??

      Pot, meet Kettle....

      • by Yakasha (42321)

        which barely attempts to editing.

        "Attempts to editing"??

        Pot, meet Kettle....

        I doubt Sarten-X has an editor budget.
        Its more like: "Pot, meet Fully Staffed & Automated Modern Kitchen Here Take A Look At The Internet Controlled Toaster No It Only Toasts One Side I Don't Know Where The Butter Is Anyways Just Have Coffee Oops I Spilled It."

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

          I doubt Sarten-X has an editor budget.

          Somewhere in here, there's a joke about FLOSS text editors and the ensuing flame wars, but I just can't think of a good way to phrase it.

          I have a plugin that could help with that phrasing, but I don't remember how to run it...

          • I doubt Sarten-X has an editor budget.

            Somewhere in here, there's a joke about FLOSS text editors and the ensuing flame wars, but I just can't think of a good way to phrase it.

            I have a plugin that could help with that phrasing, but I don't remember how to run it...

            Just use emacs and you won't need a plugin.

          • by Yakasha (42321)

            I doubt Sarten-X has an editor budget.

            Somewhere in here, there's a joke about FLOSS text editors and the ensuing flame wars, but I just can't think of a good way to phrase it.

            I have a plugin that could help with that phrasing, but I don't remember how to run it...

            Well then, time to put in for an IT budget too. :)

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        Aw, they fixed it. The summary originally read "which attempts to education journalists".

  • Professionals ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DickBreath (207180) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:38AM (#46563523) Homepage
    We've all seen the professionals get it wrong. Sometimes very wrong.

    Furthermore, dedicated ammatuers who focus on a particular subject often have quicker and better coverage of news on that topic. Professional mass media news often over simplifies news, sometimes to the point of almost losing the story.

    Then we've all seen the bias of professional news organizations. Freedom of the press is for whoever owns one. Look at how all mainstream mass media was completely silent about SOPA until the Internet forced the issue into the public eye. Then, the professional journalists all told whatever story their owners wanted us to hear.

    I'm not saying that professional journalism is all bad. It's just not all good either. And the same for ammatuers. It is up to you to decide what news sources you trust. Some professionals have, and should rightfully so, not be given any trust.

    We now have news channels that are more about info-tainment and the most fantastical splashy graphics than they are about real news. Closing down bureaus and getting rid of real investigative reporters because it is cheaper to just do talking heads? Then we also have professional news sources whose entire purpose is to promote a particular ideology. So maybe, increasingly, the only difference between the ammatuers and professionals is how big a budget they have? Now TV news anchors have to be fashion models. But in the past they had to be journalists who eventually earned the position of anchor. They weren't models, they just had to look okay.

    So I find arguments about the goodness of professional news over news on the internet to be less than completely convincing.
  • by Enigma2175 (179646) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:39AM (#46563531) Homepage Journal

    which attempts to education journalists in how to process

    We should attempts to education the editors in how to process a story!

  • by Godai (104143) * on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:42AM (#46563555)

    I've often thought about what differentiates a blogger from a journalist. To suggest that there is no difference is demeaning to journalists -- and yes, I know there are lots of those are hardly worthy of the name, but to just flatly equate the two is unjust to the professional, fact-checking variety that is supposed to be the standard.

    Before the rise of the internet, there was no platform for any old person to put their opinion in print (digital or otherwise) and reach a broad audience. Sure, you could print up pamphlets and hand them out on street corners, but wide distribution was gated by publishers. We've removed a lot of middlemen between content producers and content consumers, and a lot of that is probably good. But one of the benefits (and problems in some cases) was that some of those middlemen provided filtering. It's great that we no longer have that filtering in one aspect; it's allowed a lot of things that the 'powers that be' judged uninteresting and turned out not to be so. But it also means that a lot of pure noise that was filtered out is now crowding out the signal in some cases.

    Part of the problem journalism faces is that in order to compete on speed, they're skipping steps. There was a time when a juicy story was held back while they triple-checked it. That happens less & less because time-to-print (or broadcast, etc.) has become the defining metric. When you're competing with someone who doesn't check anything they put up, you start to look pretty follow-the-leaders when you post after fact-checking.

    So while some of this is definitely a problem for journalists, namely how to stay relevant in a world of instant publication, a lot of this is our fault too. If we were willing to wait a bit, preferring immediately accuracy instead of immediate attention grabbing, it would give those who want to do things right the breathing room to verify. So long as we're all grabbing click bait the second its available, we're screaming loud and clear to the conglomerates that run our news media that its far more important to be first than accurate.

    • by Cenan (1892902)

      When you're competing with someone who doesn't check anything they put up, you start to look pretty follow-the-leaders when you post after fact-checking

      So maybe they're doing it wrong? Not every article has to be breaking to be worthy. You don't always have to be first. Remember, news aren't made by journalists, it's covered by them, and newsworthy stuff happens regardless of whether anyone covers it. The obsession with being first is putting the cart before the horse. Do proper fact-checking and be a better source of news, it's that simple. Oh, and dropping the obvious party affiliations would go a long way too.

      • by Godai (104143) *

        I completely agree, but you missed my follow-up point. They were already doing that more or less before the Internet era sprung on them (and to be fair, the 24-hour news channel didn't help). The problem is that those that kept doing that start losing ground to those that put the horse before the cart, as you put it. And that happened because we all tuned into the "Latest breaking something-we'll-check-later" News. I'm not saying they're blameless, but we definitely have a huge heaping share of the responsi

    • I think you're absolutely right about the trend in news shifting towards immediacy vs. verification of content. Maybe professional journalism has a marketing problem, in that regard? I think the general public, especially in the "Internet age" where everything seems to be available at the click of a mouse, might need reminders of the value of fact-checked, accurate news reporting?

      Really, there's no true need to be first, if doing so means only having part of the story, or an inaccurate one. The *perceived

      • by Godai (104143) *

        I think you're right that perception is a big problem. It would be really, really helpful if there was some objective way to measure how rarely a news source gets stuff wrong. Kind of like a Golden Glove for news. If news organizations could compete for that instead of their version of "First post!", it could only be better.

    • by Yakasha (42321)

      I've often thought about what differentiates a blogger from a journalist. To suggest that there is no difference is demeaning to journalists -- and yes, I know there are lots of those are hardly worthy of the name, but to just flatly equate the two is unjust to the professional, fact-checking variety that is supposed to be the standard.

      Before the rise of the internet, there was no platform for any old person to put their opinion in print (digital or otherwise) and reach a broad audience. Sure, you could print up pamphlets and hand them out on street corners, but wide distribution was gated by publishers. We've removed a lot of middlemen between content producers and content consumers, and a lot of that is probably good. But one of the benefits (and problems in some cases) was that some of those middlemen provided filtering. It's great that we no longer have that filtering in one aspect; it's allowed a lot of things that the 'powers that be' judged uninteresting and turned out not to be so. But it also means that a lot of pure noise that was filtered out is now crowding out the signal in some cases.

      Part of the problem journalism faces is that in order to compete on speed, they're skipping steps. There was a time when a juicy story was held back while they triple-checked it. That happens less & less because time-to-print (or broadcast, etc.) has become the defining metric. When you're competing with someone who doesn't check anything they put up, you start to look pretty follow-the-leaders when you post after fact-checking.

      So while some of this is definitely a problem for journalists, namely how to stay relevant in a world of instant publication, a lot of this is our fault too. If we were willing to wait a bit, preferring immediately accuracy instead of immediate attention grabbing, it would give those who want to do things right the breathing room to verify. So long as we're all grabbing click bait the second its available, we're screaming loud and clear to the conglomerates that run our news media that its far more important to be first than accurate.

      1 vote for: Bloggers + Snopes > Journalism.

  • ...for evidence of this, just look at how the recent Crimea issue has been handled.

    No one raised a finger when Kosovo was carving itself out of Yugoslavia. No body is asking the tough questions. No body from the big media houses sees the USA's double standards...

    • No one raised a finger when Kosovo was carving itself out of Yugoslavia.

      And there's your difference. Kosovo carved *itself* out of Yugoslavia. *Russia* carved the Crimea out of Ukraine.

      • by bogaboga (793279)

        And there's your difference. Kosovo carved *itself* out of Yugoslavia. *Russia* carved the Crimea out of Ukraine.

        No! You lie! The Crimean people [democratically] voted to join Russia.
        Want a link? Here you go. [bbc.com]

        • Once they were occupied by Russian troops, you better believe they'd vote to join Russia. I'd vote to join Russia too if I had a Russian soldier standing next to me. Kosovo, of course, wasn't occupied by any foreign troops.

  • It's not that bloggers are great, but what passes for journalism in the USA is little more than a bad joke. Fact checking? Broad knowledge of the world? Deep thought? When was the last time you saw any of that from a "professional" mainstream media journalist? Even the Economist has become hopelessly myopic and superficial.

    That's not the only reason. Intellectually, most of the journalism majors I met in college were fighting it out with education majors for last place. Try and explain something as complex as resource depletion or peak oil, and their heads looked like they'd explode.

    Consequently I find that I read bloggers with great enthusiasm (e.g. nakedcapitalism.com), while simply rolling my eyes at the "news" on MSNBC, Fox or NPR.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:49AM (#46563631) Homepage Journal

    A lot of people (most people, actually) tend to believe that the usage of the term in the First Amendment implies the "fourth estate," a characterization of the 'professional' journalistic media; however, according to etymonline.com, [etymonline.com] the term "the press" was not used in reference to professional journalistic endeavors (i.e., the 'fourth estate') until the mid-1820's, long after the Constitution was written and ratified. Prior to that, the term "press" in literary reference was commonly accepted to mean the printing press.

    Thus, it stands to reason that the freedom our founding fathers were protecting in the First Amendment is not the freedom of the fourth estate, but rather the freedom of the common man to disseminate information freely, be it in blog, newspaper, or other format.

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:51AM (#46563663)
    These days journalism is a lot of opinion and drama designed to lure readers or television viewers. Very often the stories lack fact checking and verification and are subject to quite a bit of hyperbole. Good, objective journalism has died with a large thank you to Rupert Murdoch who promoted the news as a business versus a true information source.
    • by BBF_BBF (812493)
      I agree.

      Many "Journalists" no longer fact check their stories before they are published. IMHO that makes them no different than a blogger. At least with a blogger, it's implied that whatever they post is their opinion, with journalists, it's implied that they're supposed to be impartial.

      However, Journalists have *never* been 100% objective, at a minimum there has always been some self-censorship and tacit agreements with governments, etc. (For example, FDR was never shown in press pictures in his w
  • by superwiz (655733)
    In what way are they different anywhere?
  • When you understand that the freedom of the press has almost nothing to do with the rights of journalists/reporters. It is referring to the printing press, not "The Press" or "The Media." It protects the right of reporters and bloggers to publish their free speech.

  • At least in America, "the press" means "the printing press" and by extension any technology which accomplishes the same purpose as the printing press, i.e. the dissemination of information. Blogs would certainly fall into this category. You can either believe me or read this very convincing paper by Eugene Volokh: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/pa... [ssrn.com] So sorry, "media," you aren't "the press." The protection is for the medium, not a particular type of messenger.
  • Censor them all, and let the NSA sort them out.
  • by jpellino (202698)

    Not all writers are journalists.

    Those we know as journalists have editors, one-time or current peers, more experienced, who can tell them when they're running afoul of what good journalism is.

    Those we know as bloggers have nothing more than their own judgement to guide them, which is why journalists grew editors.

    Perhaps someday the two will merge, hopefully by bloggers stepping up, and not by journalists stepping down.

    Kinda like in science, where you don't get to just throw up any old idea and call it scien

  • Unfortunately, very often facts are never verified, and dogma-truths (religionpolitics) are very often regurgitated by fools, bigots, and frauds.

    I wish journalist, clergy, and politicians could be held to a higher standard, but as broadcast/print news, US, EU, RU, CN politicians, and all religions globally prove there is no higher calling than bullsh_t power.

    IOW: Holding Citizens/bloggers to any standard for speech/information would be wrong and draconian. Holding journalist, scientist, businesses, clergy,

  • it is not rationed out to journalists who have been ordained by editors and publishers. What we need are good whistle blower protection laws, not shield laws.
  • As someone who made a modest living for 30 years as a "journalist" (or whatever you want to call me), I can summarize the most important thing I learned in 30 seconds:

    Every time you attack someone, always call him to get his side.

    (Variation 1: Every time you write something that you strongly believe, always call somebody on the other side to find out why they disagree with you.)

    That's it. If you follow that rule, you'll always get a decent story.

  • by Lumpy (12016)

    Because what passes for "journalism" today is no better than a random blogger. No research done, and basically 100% opinion pieces.

    • I frankly feel insulted when these new readers and lousy reporters call themselves "journalists." Bloggers don't know better so I don't hold it against them. One should be required to have a degree to earn the title Journalist. Just as a garbage handler should not be allowed to degrade Engineers by calling themselves sanitation engineers.

  • The question should focus specifically on quality, not freedom. That is, bloggers, journalists, pamphleteers and tinfoil-hat-wearing-street-corner-ranting loonies have the same freedom to report what they consider to be news. Governments, and especially the courts, should scrupulously avoid anointing any group as "the Press" or claiming one group or another has a more fundamental free speech right. The press are and always have been made up of the people.

    Quality, however, is another matter. We might expect

  • In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

    Under the law, they should be. They are citizens. There should be no special rights extended to anyone based on their profession.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Monday March 24, 2014 @12:59PM (#46564995)

    Are journalists and marketing directors equal? Are journalists and advertisers equal? After all, they all produce digital copy to inform the public. OTOH, if there is something that separates journalists from these other information producing groups, then there is probably something that also separates them from your run of the mill bloggers.

    As to what that something may be, I will leave to others to determine.

  • In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

    Well, I think we have a document on that subject around here somewhere... oh yea, here it is:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Enough said.

  • There used to be real journalism done by real journalists, but thanks to everyone wanting everything on the cheap and mostly due to a huge sell-out by the media who jumped on the "advertisement will pay for everything" bandwaggon long before the Internet did, that is rapidly going the way of the Dodo bird.

    The problem is that selling out to advertisement means quality doesn't matter anymore, eyeballs do. A carefully researched, well-balanced article usually doesn't draw as many eyes as some bullshit attentio

    • There used to be real journalism done by real journalists

      Or not. There were things, sometimes important, that "real journalists" just didn't cover, or slanted heavily. Of course, since most people didn't have other sources, they perceived the pros as getting things mostly right and covering most of what they needed to know.

      Talk to somebody who had inside information on something and watched the journalism about it. My first experience was in a teachers' strike Mom participated in. It was enlightenin

      • by Tom (822)

        Or not. There were things, sometimes important, that "real journalists" just didn't cover, or slanted heavily

        Oh please. Just because it wasn't 110% perfect doesn't mean it wasn't good. That's a strawman.

        Of course mass media has its own troubles and problems and bias and issues. But it's gone downhill from there quite a lot.

  • Considering the abysmal lack of fact-checking on even the simplest of stories, the amount of content that is obviously just pandered from one web site to the next by so-called professional journalists, the number of images and stories that have been discovered to be (if not completely manufactured) at least heavily edited in favor of a political viewpoint...well, if people are having a hard time distinguishing "journalists" from "dipshit with a website and a viewpoint", I'd say journalists have only themsel

Nothing succeeds like success. -- Alexandre Dumas

Working...