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Baio Responses...

1. I would have to agree that a blogger can in fact be a journalist. I mean look at Matt Drudge and his blog the Drudge Report. He first received national attention in 1996 when he broke the news that Jack Kemp would be Republican Bob Dole's running mate in the 1996 presidential election. In 1998, Drudge gained notoriety when he was the first outlet to break the news which later became the Monica Lewinsky scandal (Wikipedia). An additional example of a blogger/journalist is Dan Gilmor.

I think blogging and journalism have a lot in common. Though I admit that there are repercussions that go along with be a journalist that blogs rather than a blogger that reports the news. People that are labeled first as journalists often have to answer to editors like in the case of Joshua Kucera, a free-lancer for Time Magazine that had been filing from Iraq to his blog. Kucera was asked by his editor to cease posting to his blog until after the war was over.

I do think that Andy Baio is a journalist, but the first indicator of that would be that he is a self proclaimed independent journalist as written in his blog bio. I mean technically he is a journalist because what he is doing fits the definition of the word perfectly. If we think of a journalist as one who keeps a journal then a blogger is a shoe in for the title.

If we go for the more formal definition of “one who’s occupation is journalism” then we need to define journalism. In the case of the blogger I believe the best definition of journalism is “written material of current interest or wide popular appeal.” Essentially blogging and journalism are pretty synonymous. Hands down. Technically no one has the right to decide who is a journalist and who isn't. People may not think that Perez Hilton is a journalist by conventional standards, but by the definition of journalism he is as legitimate as Dan Rather.

2. I definitely think that this (the Baio issue) is journalism even though it depends on archival material. Baio still had to sift through all of the information and do research in order to put it all together as well as draw various conclusions about the missing pieces to the story that weren’t evident in the archives. I mean I am pretty sure that is probably one of the best examples of investigative reporting that I have ever seen. I mean its not like he is claiming to be Woodward and Bernstein, but as far as new media discoveries are concerned Baio is on point.

3. Ahhh the age old question of the validity of anonymous sources. I think it really comes down to why this source wants to be left un-named. As the ethical code of journalism is concerned we as journalists have to protect the rights of sources and if this means that they remain anonymous then so be it. Specifically I am reminded these things from the code:

"A journalist should use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects, and give a voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid," (Society of Professional Journalists).

There are a lot of issues surrounding anonymous sources; but usually they have honorable intentions. In this case it may be someone close to the whole Infocom saga that didn't want it to come back on them in a negative way. Though some people like USA Today co-founder Al Neuharth are avidly opposed to the use of anonymous sources. He believes that most anonymous sources often tell more than they know.

"For more than 20 years, I've preached that anonymous sources are the root of evil in journalism," (Al Neuharth).

Assignment Link

Comments (1)

ChrisU:

While I agree that blogging can be journalism, it doesn't free the blogger from the ethics associated with journalistic practice (as evidenced by the heated debate on Baio's blog).

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