are bloggers journalists?

are bloggers journalists? german netmag telepolis asks the question, sind blogger journalisten?, responding to some recent developments in the US – the first ‘blogger” allowed to attend the whitehouse press conferences, the thinksecret legal case in california, where after round one it was established that unlike journalists, bloggers do have to reveal their sources.

from a legal point of view this is of course a highly relevant question, but i think on many other levels it is somehow missing the point. blogs are blogs and bloggers not journalists. as a medium it is a different thing, outside the loop, its own thing. blogs are basically self-publishing systems, comparable to the fanzines or pamphletering in their respective time. in that way blogs are clearly living outside the classic media channels. anyone can start a blog. they can fake news or make news. whatever.
blogs can be so many things, really. they can be news sources comparable to the more classic models, of course, but they can be so much else. some people use blogs to publish their novels, their sexual kinks, their favorite recipes. other bloggers are trendwatchers, but still often interspersing “the news” with highly opinionated personal rants. and it goes on and on. there is no such thing as “the blog”, hence discussing if bloggers are journalists or not is futile. the question should actually be: are blogs blogs? something i have attempted to express in my recent post: all blogs are equal – but some blogs are more equal.
i think a distinction between the many different types of blogs is what is really called for more than anything else.

with more and more journalists and classic mediasources jumping the blog bandwagon i think another question will have to be raised: are journalists who blog bloggers? clearly, some of them “get” blogging, they do it extremly well. but i have seen quite a few journalists blog, who just don’t “get” it. their access to certain news channels gives them the advantage that they play out in classic news fashion to try and re-establish the old pecking order. where as to me blogging is about laying it all out, making it all transparent and sending to everybody the message, hey, this is easy, you can do it too…

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.