Ask a Blogger

Ever notice how your local paper seems perfectly credible until you read an article on something you actually know a lot about? All of a sudden it seems like journalists know nothing, and you wonder: If this piece is so ill-informed, then what stories can I count on to be well informed?

Bloggers tend to write about what they know (myself excluded). If bloggers present an actual threat to traditional journalism (as is often suggested at jschool seminars), it’s not because the public isn’t discriminating enough to care, it’s because no journalist can know (or research) everything about everything. Bloggers sidestep this problem by virtue of sheer numbers.

John Naughton:

In fact, when it comes to many topics in which I have a professional interest, I would sooner pay attention to particular blogs than to anything published in Big Media – including the venerable New York Times. This is not necessarily because journalists are idiots; it’s just that serious subjects are complicated and hacks have neither the training nor the time to reach a sophisticated understanding of them – which is why much journalistic coverage is inevitably superficial and often misleading, and why so many blogs are thoughtful and accurate by comparison.

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5 Replies to “Ask a Blogger”

  1. While I acknowledge the phenomenon of reading about something that I “know” about in the paper and recognizing the B.S. factor, that doesn’t give me faith in bloggers. I don’t think bloggers are intrinsically more knowledgable than journalists.

  2. Of course they’re not (intrinsically more knowlegeable). The point is that they are exempt from corporate control and oversight, and you can always find a blogger who knows a lot about something, who writes about what they know. In contrast if the Chron needs to cover a story on Linux because there’s important Linux news today, and no one on staff is a Linux expert, too bad – they just find someone to do their best with the story. That’s a big credibility gap that blogging bridges.

  3. If bloggers present an actual threat to traditional journalism (as is often suggested at jschool seminars), it’s not because the public isn’t discriminating enough to care, it’s because no journalist can know (or research) everything about everything.

    Better say:
    “If bloggers present an actual threat to traditional journalism (as is often suggested at jschool seminars), it’s not because the public isn’t discriminating enough to care, it’s because the public (despite journos’ adverse opinions of it as some sort of headless beast) actually is discriminating enough to care.”

    http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/000113.html

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/kathleenparker/kp20030713.shtml

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