Are bloggers considered citizen journalists?

It’s a question that has been a hot topic since the beginning of the blogosphere. I mentioned the similarities and differences between bloggers and journalists in a couple of my previous posts, but here I’m going to go into more detail.

In one of Rettberg’s chapters in her book, Blogging, she compares the blogosphere to a cheap printing press by saying, “the Internet changes one of the greatest obstacles to true freedom of the press by eliminating or greatly reducing the cost of production and distribution” (85).

Not only did she discuss the idea of blogging as free press, but she also mentioned that as a blogger you can be elevated to the status of a journalist without needing the fancy education or experience.

However, she is careful not to confuse the two, even quoting statistics saying the majority of bloggers would never consider themselves journalists.

Whether us bloggers are “journalists” or not, there is still a lot of press, coverage, and success to be had, even if we’re not writing for the New York Times. For example, Rettberg stated, “bloggers have been more likely to receive passes to press conferences and political conventions, which allow the bloggers to report first-hand on these events rather than leaving them to rely on reports from traditional journalism” (89).

A perfect example of this would be when famous blogger, Emily Schuman, was asked to fly out to the Big Apple to attend New York Fashion Week and be one of the first to exclusively cover the runways.

Instances like these are causing the lines to be blurred between a “journalist” and a “blogger”.

Another article I read, “Journalism of Verification”, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, discussed how important it is to verify your facts and sources. One most always double-check, not only to increase their credibility, but also to ensure their readers can trust them as a viable writer. This a rule of thumb for both bloggers and journalists.

Even though many blogs are subjective and sometimes biased, in order to be respected by their audience of readers they must verify their facts as well.

Some questions to ponder:

-When reading a blog post, what types of mistakes/commonalities make you skeptical?

-What are some examples of bloggers who have been elevated to a higher status because of their reporting/writing?

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