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Is It Journalism or Blogging? Or Neither?

Journalists vs. Bloggers' Debate Revisited

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According to the Free Online Dictionary, journalism is defined as:

1. The collecting, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles in newspapers and magazines and in radio and television broadcasts.
2. Material written for publication in a newspaper or magazine or for broadcast.
3. The style of writing characteristic of material in newspapers and magazines, consisting of direct presentation of facts or occurrences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation.
4. Newspapers and magazines.
5. An academic course training students in journalism.
6. Written material of current interest or wide popular appeal.

How do you define journalism? Let us know.

To me, the most prominent section of this definition is part 3, which essentially points to the objectivity aspect of journalism. However, when you think about this, how many mainstream journalists or media outlets does this aspect describe? And, if this is the definition, should it be enforced? Should journalists set themselves at a higher standard than they currently are?

On the other hand, is this definition even accurate today? Or, has it evolved with the advent of blogging?

These are just a few of the questions that are being raised after Crystal Cox, who calls herself an investigative blogger, was charged with defamation and ordered to pay $2.5 million after an Oregon court recently ruled that she was not protected under the state’s media shield law. As WebProNews covered here and here, Cox was sued by Obsidian Finance Group earlier this year after she accused the firm’s co-founder, Kevin Padrick, of fraud, dishonesty with shareholders, and abuse of his position as the company’s chapter 11 trustee.

Cox, who defended herself in court, said that, because her content was based on information from an inside source, she was protected through the media shield law. The court, however, said that she was not associated with an established media outlet and was therefore, not a journalist.

In the above interview, Cox told us that she does consider herself to be a journalist, saying: “I have taken depositions, I’ve interviewed people, I have over 400 sites, I’ve researched this case, I’ve watched insider meetings… I’m not just any blogger on it.”

“I don’t have one blog… this is what I do all day, everyday, [and] have for years,” she added.

Cox told us that she does not, however, consider all bloggers to be journalists. In addition, she does not think that the perception people have about journalism is correct and said that it wasn’t about getting both sides of the story.

“I think it’s about digging in documents, reading depositions, reading court cases, watching videos – really doing deep investigation,” Cox said. “Real journalists should actually investigate and be willing to read it and be passionate about the story.”

As far as her next steps are concerned, Cox told us that she is still uncertain. She has been in talks with First Amendment experts and other groups to weigh out all her options. She is trying to decide if appealing the court ruling or stepping down will do the most toward encouraging equal rights for bloggers and journalists. If she does appeal, Cox said she would not represent herself.

Ideally, she would like to see her story result in a federal shield law and “for all bloggers to have rights as journalists, if they do what journalists do.”

Is Crystal Cox a blogger or journalist? You decide.

Is It Journalism or Blogging? Or Neither?
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  • /// ted

    Is blogging anything but a text media? Misspellings galore, poor syntax, sorry presentation… this is journalism? This is rubbish! Ok… some can disagree but they must realize they are merely stirring the crock pot! And they will certainly get “dirty”. After all, lie down with dogs and you get “FLEES”!!!
    I’m outta here!
    Ted

  • http://www.jambume.blogspot.com Babs Yusuf

    According to what she said, i think she should be acquainted, monitor and tell to stop the act instead of the requested money. Blogging is a kinda different from jornalism. That’s my share of comment. Let’s the party begin.

  • Gene

    According to the Free Online Dictionary, journalism is defined as:

    1. The collecting, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles in newspapers and magazines and in radio and television broadcasts.
    2. Material written for publication in a newspaper or magazine or for broadcast.
    3. The style of writing characteristic of material in newspapers and magazines, consisting of direct presentation of facts or occurrences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation.
    4. Newspapers and magazines.
    5. An academic course training students in journalism.
    6. Written material of current interest or wide popular appeal.

    Or for Broadcast . . . if the Internet is NOT a broadcast outlet then why is there advertising on it . . . why is there news on it? The first “News Outlets” in any town was the “Town Crier” . . . then the Crier partnered with the “Inter-Town Riders” . . . then Ben Franklin printed the first newspaper . . . Early newspapers were all independent operations just like bloggers . . . in fact, not until near the end of the 19th century did news papers become “Established Media Outlets”

    Why has the Internet gone through the exact same early phases that film media did whereby the “Legitimate” Silent Film Makers also made early pornography films during their slow times?

    Blogging is NOT a different kind of journalism . . . the Internet is an NEW broadcast medium. Ted clearly takes the “Established Journalism” outlet point of view and that is the exact reason for democratic debate. However once the emotional dust settles and the facts win out, democratic debate reveals the facts. It matters not that both Ted and the Oregon Court are wrong when you evaluate the totality of journalism in the last 250 years. Blogging is precisely what journalism begins as in any new medium . . . even if that medium is simply the spoken word.

  • http://www.newstippers.com henry

    What does this mean for citizien journalism sites like www.NewsTippers.com and Citizenside.com?

  • Mick

    While there are some very useful and professional blogs out there, the vast majority of them are cranks with an internet connection.

    There was a time when journalism took years of training, now is all you need is a pc to be called a “journalist”?

    I dont think so.

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