Citizen Journalist or Blogger: What’s in a Name?

Posted by at 8:21PM

I’m having somewhat of an identity crisis here: Who am I?
At this moment, as I add content to this site, what — at the most fundamental level — am I doing? Am I doing “reporting?” If so, what kind?
I am at an event right now at Cubberley Auditorium featuring Bill Keller, Executive Editor of the New York Times; Gary Pruitt, CEO of the McClatchy Company; Marissa Mayer, Vice President at Google; and Harry Chandler of the L.A. Times. It is moderated by Joel Brinkley, a visiting professor in the Department of Communication.
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The talk is called “Pressing Times: Can Newspapers Survive in the New World of Journalism?” Among other things, the three of them have jumped between various terms for people who write in this medium right here: we are alternately bloggers, at other times citizen journalists.
Keller was critical of bloggers, saying that we could never equal professional journalists for various reasons; Keller even implied that bloggers uniformly do not fact-check. Chandler, meanwhile, continually used the phrase “citizen journalists” as if to lend us more credibility as a part of the fabric of journalism today.
So, ultimately, what is the role of a blogger? Do you think that you, as a blogger, are more or less credible than a reporter for McClatchy or the New York Times? Or are we not even comparable — are we totally different things entirely? If you’re not a blogger yourself, what do you think when you read a blog: can you trust our reporting — are we really a subsection of journalist (citizen journalist) as Chandler said?
What exactly does blogger vs. citizen journalist mean and imply? I know for sure that no one from the L.A. Times could cover this event the way I am now, but perhaps they wouldn’t ever want to.
I’m not sure what to think, but I’d love to hear your opinion.

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3 Responses to “Citizen Journalist or Blogger: What’s in a Name?”

  1. Galen says:

    Actually, whoever claimed that bloggers don’t fact check is not entirely correct. Pew’s latest random survey of bloggers found this:
    34% of bloggers consider their blog a form of journalism; 56% of bloggers spend extra time trying to verify facts they want to include in a post either “sometimes” or “often.”
    http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/186/report_display.asp
    Other studies note that blogs rely on the peer review of other bloggers and blog readers who are quick to point out errors — and that corrections can be made instantly rather than the next day or next broadcast, as with traditional media.

  2. Jason says:

    I feel the same way – I don’t want to blog about something falsely. I always attach links to clarify what I’m talking about. The best part of blogging is that you can provide context through links instead of through trying to describe something.
    There is more credibility in a way – if I talk about a movie, instead of describing it for those who haven’t seen it, I can just direct them to the imbd movie profile and they can decide for themselves what the movie is about.

  3. Megan says:

    I think that blogging is a form of journalism appropriate for the net, and for this “wired” generation — in the sense that, as we experience our lives, we for the most part, and often-times it is opinionated, we reflect back into the blog format, because it is easy, and because it is instant gratification, and because it is appropriate to our world. Blogging, and reading blogs, is very much about feeling the pulse of a community, “reporting” on the state of things – and by “state” I mean a more intuitive state than perhaps a journalistic approach might create — and I think this blog is doing a great job at capturing that pulse, or some sub-sect of it, for the Stanford student campus.

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