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What Separates a Blogger from a Journalist?

Bloggers as Local News Sources

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The New York Times is running an article looking at "hyperlocal" web sites as replacements to traditional newspapers. The catalyst for the concept is obviously the fact that some newspapers have been dying off, at least in print form.

The piece looks at web startups EveryBlock, Outside.in, Placebologger, and Patch, which "collect links to articles and blogs and often supplement them with data from local governments and other sources." It is an interesting look into some possibilities for local news options beyond the local paper.

Placeblogger

Some bloggers take exception to a couple of things implied in the article however. Matt McGee, who has a blog dedicated strictly to local blogging, pulls the following excerpt from the NYT piece:

One hurdle is the need for reliable, quality content. The information on many of these sites can still appear woefully incomplete. Crime reports on EveryBlock, for example, are short on details of what happened. Links to professionally written news articles on Outside.in are mixed with trivial and sometimes irrelevant blog posts.

That raises the question of what these hyperlocal sites will do if newspapers, a main source of credible information, go out of business. “They rely on pulling data from other sources, so they really can’t function if news organizations disappear,” said Steve Outing, who writes about online media for Editor & Publisher Online.

Matt McGee "Inherent in those two paragraphs is this idea that there’s some kind of separation between so-called ‘professionally written news’ and what local news blogs are doing," says McGee. "This Just In: Professionally written news articles are also sometimes trivial and irrelevant. This isn’t just a blogging thing. But that’s an attitude that continues to thrive in some traditional media circles."

Matt makes a great point. It’s not a new point. It’s often made in the whole blogger/journalist debate, but he phrases it well.

So I ask you, what separates a blogger from a journalist? I’ve seen plenty of credible and non-credible bloggers, as well as credible and non-credible "journalists." Where is the line? Your thoughts? Comment.

 Update: Steve Outing, who the NYT quoted in this story has commented on this article below saying that his opinions were misrepresented by the Times. Kind of ironic, given the subject of discussion.Join the discussion.

What Separates a Blogger from a Journalist?
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  • http://steveouting.com Steve Outing

    That quote from me was presented out of context and was part of a longer conversation, so what I was telling the NYT reporter was more nuanced, and what (little) she wrote from me misrepresents my position.

    What I told her is that those aggregators who don’t produce any of their own content will suffer as newspapers continue to die off, but that the speed of newspapers’ decline means that replacement news entities will rise faster to fill the holes. Placebloggers will be but one source of hyperlocal news; others providing local news will be the growing wave of for- and non-profit news start-ups. During the transition we’ll have a weaker press and less important (investigative, watchdog) journalism that newspapers used to do the bulk of, but this will be resolved in time.

    Also about the quote from me: It appears to contradict what I believe, which is that for many niche-topic bloggers, they know far more than the journalist who’s parachuted in to cover a story without being an expert. E.g., some of the Mac bloggers know so much more than the business reporter for a newspaper who has Apple assigned as part of his/her beat.

    • Chris Crum

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for telling us how you really feel. Kind of ironic that the New York Times misquoted misrepresented your position here isn’t it?

      I’d be happy to throw an update on the article referring readers to your comment here. I totally agree with your niche-topic blogger point.

      Chris

      • Guest

        I decided to submit my site to Placebologger. And what is result? They blocked my acount. And what about freedom of word ?

        http://www.moscowbeauties.ru

  • http://www.kitsapsun.com Angela (a journalist)

    I think the question of what is the difference between a blogger and a journalist misses the point. Bloggers can be journalists and journalists can be bloggers. Blogging is a matter of format (posts only in reverse chronological order as opposed to a chosen hierarchy of stories) and interactivity, not necessarily what a person is.

    Journalism is an information gathering process: asking questions of various sides, working to get a good understanding of an issue in an often short period of time, and then sharing that information through writing, photos, videos, graphics in a clear manner, understandable to a wide, general audience. Most good journalists are people who went to school to study not only writing and media, but also the laws behind what information is public, knowing where to get information and understanding what impact it can have on society and democracy.

    While some reporters parachute into an issue, good news reporting is based on a reporter or group of reporters who develop a beat. They get to know a variety of sources to develop and understanding of an issue from multiple perspectives. They also know that their responsibility is to their reader, but that often, they’ll need to be able to talk to their sources tomorrow and years from now, so you’ve got to be fair and understanding about it.

    Can a blogger do that? Absolutely. Are all of them doing it? No.

    Good journalists (yep, I agree there are some lazy ones and just plain bad ones out there

    • Ted

      I agree with Angela’s points, however I think the main difference between bloggers and journalists is accountability. Whereas the professional journalist has a reputation of credibility to build and protect, the blogger can be intentionally irresponsible, misleading, and biased. This is not to say that all journalists are above such sins as Angela points out, but they risk much more than bloggers if such behavior is exposed.

      Moreover, typically the journalist has a boss to whom he or she is accountable; the blogger answers to no one. As Angela points out, there are good and bad journalists as well as bloggers, but if someone is slandered by a blogger, for example, obtaining a legal remedy is difficult or impossible. If the same person is slandered by a professional journalist, there are legal remedies where the offending journalist may face charges, lose employment, etc.

      The loss of newspapers that worked hard to build the public’s trust is a loss for all of us who value integrity and accountability. Can bloggers fill the void? I don’t think so, but I’m willing to proven wrong.

  • http://inchoo.net Toni Anicic

    I’ve seen this placeblogger service a few months ago I believe. I even singed up but never been active on it. It’s a nice concept and idea.

    • Guest

      I decided to submit my site to Placebologger. And what is result? They blocked my acount. And what about freedom of word ?

      http://www.moscowbeauties.ru

  • http://www.inpursuitofwealth.com Bonnie

    As a recipient of misquoted remarks that were printed in a Phx newpaper some time ago, it is true that even journalists are not as accurate as they should be. Many bloggers do research on on their niches and write quality and accurate material but again some bloggers are there for the ride. So… is there a difference beween the two, it is hard to say at times. I must agree that some bloggers are very much journalists and some jounalists should resort to blogging and not find whatever they can to slap into the news.

  • http://www.jjc-communication.com Jeff Cole

    To start, I spent 25 years working in newsrooms. I left daily journalism about seven years ago to go into public relations and marketing. I now blog at http://www.pr101.biz. I know both sides of this debate.

    There are many things that separate bloggers from journalists.

    Let me hit of the some high points:

    * Journalists go through extensive training – first in college and then when they start working. Most young reporters start out on the police beat. It trains to write quickly and accurately, it teaches what’s news and whats not and it starts to build that healthy skepticism any good reporter needs. I don’t think bloggers receive that kind of training or have that kind of experience.

    *Reporters usually become experts on a subject, both through covering it everyday and through outside training. Reporters spend long boring days and evenings learning how things are done and why. They are the ones that will sit in zoning for six hours waiting to hear the one important item. I don’t know if most bloggers are willing to do that.

    * Reporters are trained never to take anything at face value – to always check everything out carefully. It doesn’t always happen, but it usually does. I cannot tell you how many bloggers hear some silly rumor, take it is as true and blog about it. Look at the recent presidential campaign as an example. A lot of bloggers have not developed a built-in BS detector.

    *There are checks and balances in a newsroom. Most stories are reviewed by at least three editors, who will flag any questions or errors. I know that doesn’t happen with 99 percent of bloggers.

    *Reporters go through libel law training. They can tell you what Times v. Sullivan says and why it is important.

    These are some of the differences.

    Now, I should add that some blogs, especially the Huffington Post, have morphed into very good news organizations. And some bloggers are taking the time and making the effort to do a really good job. But that is still rare.

  • Guest Kenneth

    “There is no such thing in America as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare’s write his honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid… for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper … others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things… any of you who would be so foolish as to write his honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job… We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, possibilities, and lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.” John Swinton 1877

    June, 1991

  • http://www.tynansanger.com Ethan Stanislawski

    As someone whose followed the sports, music and movie press in particular, I’ve noticed for some time that there is virtually no line to distinguish good writing from bad writing. Jay Mariotti is a god-awful writer who was given a soapbox at the Chicago Sun-Times for far too long; when he finally, mercifully quit, he was promptly rehired by the FanHouse at AOL, another blog, if one that could afford Mariotti’s asking price.

    I’ve seen awful writing in the mainstream press just as frequently as I’ve seen some of the best writing on a random blog; before the internet, there was a similar debate over whether alternative weeklies were as serious as newspapers (the success of Andrew Sarris, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Robert Christgau, and J Hoberman got rid of those doubts long ago). What’s more troubling is that the income you can earn in a major publication is so much higher immediately than you can earn on a blog

  • Guest

    I blog for fun (not profit) and do not consider myself a journalist. Three daily and one weekly newspapers come to our house, and we receive many magazines. I appreciate good journalism and thoughtful or provoking bloggers. The blogosphere is diverse and stimulating. I know a few journalists who blog.

    As a blogger I love being able to express my opinion publicly on whatever topic has seized my interest.

  • http://football2010worldcup.blogspot.com/2009/04/second-phase-of-tickets-for-fifa-2010.html Jawad (World Cup 2010)

    I think both have almost same qualities and features but just working in the separate fields. After doing all the stuff at the end both will be writing something. Information gathering sources for both are also interchangeable.

    Jawad

  • Leif

    Combine Angela and Ted’s comments and you have 90% of the problem identified. Add these to the list. Bloggers have no “home”, no place to direct ire and kudos that is real and has direct impact. There is no professional standard to adhere to, no recognized body, no awards for accuracy, NOTHING — just hot air mostly. When the infrastructure that is print journalism decays below a certain level we will all suffer (as we are now with only a few noticing) because MOST reliable news seen or heard over the broadcast media is originatedc or primarily generated by the print media. Who will identify your local County board chairman as a thief or the local Sheriff as on the take? Who will identify the political outsider in your community as honest and reliable?

    In the Obama-McCain race we already saw what happens when we are short on journalistic safeguards. Most of our news from before the primaries on got “Obamaized” with not enough hot light from the press directed to where is should have gone! Much news gathering is done because of privileged access which can be reasonably granted to an accredited news organization with a history of fair reporting. What “Press” credentials will “Joe Blogger” use to gain similar access. We are already screwed and most of you don’t realize it. The level of public literacy has declined so sharply in the past 15 years as to take the breath away from anyone over 40. The pandering after appearance rather than substance is only aided and abetted by the decline in readily available local and regional journalism.

    One final point. As each news organization becomes economically weaker and weaker, its very courage to remain independent and not become an organ of popular thought becomes harder and harder to maintain. At some point these organizations may (and some already have) slip over to the other side just to survive and become shills for popular belief. I salute every journalist who has had the courage to stay the course while the ship is sinking around them. Online journalism — that’s a real oxymoron at this point. Organizations such as Fact-Checker have limited means and many of their references use circular research but they’re the best we have at the moment. Snopes . . . forget about them. They often set up “straw men” to check just to appear correct. I have caught them dead wrong far to often to rely on. The Huffington Report? — it should be labeled commentary and not news.

    So who is left? As the noose tightens around the print news media the last standing newspapers will have an inordinate amount of influence virtually unchecked. If the last two standing are the NY Times and the Washington Post (not an unreasonable thought) woe to the balance of thought in the country. The Times has already noticeably compromised its standards and the Post has become much lighter weight in their ideals over the past decade. Lots of questions. No answers. Any society is as free as the free press that is the watchdog. I can hear the fetters being forged already . . . by our own stupid, lazy selves.

    • http://www.smokytopia.com Ray Barnes

      “There is no professional standard to adhere to, no recognized body, no awards for accuracy, NOTHING — just hot air mostly. ”

      The willful ignorance here is breathtaking in it’s scope and depth. True the one thing traditional media had over the ease of publishing on the Web was it’s “Professional Standards” but those have long been blown out the window by repeated exposures of biased reporting and kowtowing to the Almighty Dollar. It was on the Internet that we first heard about the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the presence of explosives in The World Trade Center on 911. Traditional Mass Media serves a dwindling audience because it lied to us. Reputation is something that is easy to lose and very hard to get back. Try actually applying those vaunted professional standards of responsibility to the public and objectivity and you may eventually regain a certain amount of trust. I don’t know though, people don’t like being lied to, and you might be astonished as to how long the general public’s memory actually is.

  • http://www.linnetwoods.com Linnet Woods

    In a nutshell, to me, the difference between bloggers and journalists tends to be ‘opinion’. Journalists are, by and large, expected to report the facts without revealing personal views, whilst no such constraints are imposed upon bloggers.

  • http://blog.hsh.com Tim Manni

    As someone who went to school for journalism, used to be a journalist, and is now a blogger, I can tell you there is a difference. How much of a difference is the focal point of the conversation.

    I blog financial news for a well-respected financial publisher. The blogging format has allowed us to publish several stories each day, as well as interact with our readers who now have the ability to comment immediately and get a direct response from the author (that’s certainly something I enjoy whenever I comment on other blogs — just as we’re doing right now). The format has certainly benefited our readers who have financial questions or concerns. Blogging has given us a new avenue to reach out to those we are trying to, well…reach.

    As a writer, blogging has allowed me to step outside of the journalistic box — outside of the rules and standards that accompany traditional journalistic writing. Yet if you consider yourself a journalist first and foremost, blogging has the ability to make you lazy. While I do write original material, most of time, even for a factually and intellectually-driven blog, you’re adding your own twist and asking your own questions to a topic or story that has already been written. Yet, I feel I’m still able to build a good story with quotes and plenty of factual information.

    I feel partly responsible for the decline of the newspaper industry. Newspapers are time consuming to put together, a blog post is quick. While it’s sad to see the newspaper industry wither, companies have to be quick to step in line with the way technology is progressing.

    My opinions regarding nonsense and spam blogs don’t pertain to anything in my comment. Those outlets give blogging an even worse reputation then they already have. Here’s a main difference between blogging and journalism — anyone can be considered a blogger, not everyone can don the title of journalist. Your blog can be the most popular one on the internet, but you’ll always be a blogger. I love blogging, i really do, but I miss being able to call myself a journalist.

    -Tim

  • http://www.jenniferkorol.com Jennifer Korol

    As it always has been, bloggers and now vloggers as well, create their pages or videos for the sake of adding their commentary on an event or even something as simple as product reviews. From which restaurants they ate at to holding interviews with celebs on the red carpet, there is no doubt a blogger or vlogger is quite opinionated and can add a trivial tinge to what they blog or vlog about. In my opinion and as it were, blogs had started out to be the personal pages of users who wanted to share their thoughts, photos, and comments on certain things with friends, family, and other readers who happened to support them and their opinions. Since the simplicity that blogging introduced to the masses, there has been an incredible take over in the blogosphere and that “take over” was the incoming presence of mainstream media. If the mainstream media can maintain their press via the web, they won’t have a need to become a part of the blogosphere that is mostly of user generated content.

  • Guest Chris

    Pretty straightforward, really. A journo is held to account by the editor, a blogger by nobody. Checks and balances. It doesn’t always work, for sure, but in a nutshell this is it.

    • http://www.floridahealthinsuranceinflorida.com/ Florida Health Insurance Guy

      The real differences are checks and balances, as I have seen “non-credentialed/schooled writers” write way more interesting and personable articles….but without the checks and balances, of an editor or a company that will be held accountable for the possibility of false information propagation, how can one know what is truth and what is opinion. To many people believe anything they read and hear already, and when it’s all informal weblog talking…oh goodness watch out.

    • http://www.tynansanger.comq Ethan Stanislawski

      For the stereotypical “mother’s basement” blogger, that may be true. But if a blogger gets popular enough, he is ultimately held accountable by his readers. If a blog like Gawker or Wonkette were to spread pure slander or hearsay, they’d face the same ramifications as a New York Times writer would at this point. In fact, I’d argue that feeling the pressure from blogs, traditional journalism sites have resorted to the same blog tactics of getting out a breaking news story before validating that it’s true, out of concern that they’d lose traffic/exclusivity. It’s more an issue for broadcast than for daily newspapers, as CNN and ESPN are constantly publishing stories that they have yet to be validated; in most cases they are right, but when they do get it wrong, they look just as bad as a bad blogger. There’s no accountability in those cases, however, because it ultimately helps the bottom line to report this way.

  • http://poliwatch.org/remers David R. Remer

    I view popular bloggers in two groups: Sensationalists and Specialists.

    The Sensationalists tend to have little regard for accuracy, facts, and contextual data which affords an accurate big picture. They appeal to readers who get an emotional charge and ammunition for their particular point of view or preference for viewing the world.

    The Specialists, are people who educated, likely degreed, in the area on which they blog. This group not only provides factual data and context for that data, but often a world view and values which they believe the data and facts support.

    Therefore, if newspaper organizations are to wane, the public will choose their blogger sources from these two camps. I doubt, with the advent of TV and Radio news still viable and prevalent, the public will lose much in the way of accuracy of reporting if that is there preference.

    What they will likely lose however, with bloggers and the wane of newspapers, is the breadth of coverage and exposure to all the news that is breaking, which newspapers concentrate into a single source for news. More importantly however, they will lose some of the investigative journalism that newspapers traditionally provided at great expense.

    The vast majority of blogger sources will lack the resources for investigative reporting with a focus on an objective big picture telling of the story.

    What is gained however, and one of the reasons for the decline of newspapers and print news of other formats, is immediacy of news information and the high cost of multiple news sources. Buying 6 newspapers to get a well rounded perspective on the news is considerably more expensive in the long run than hitting a half dozen blogger sites covering a particular niche of news items.

    I stopped buying newspapers more than a decade ago, in lieu of TV news and blogging sources. Became a blogger source for political analysis and perspective myself, with the advent of newspapers having gone online with their publications.

    Which raises one serious concern for me. I don’t miss the New York Times on paper, but, I fear the news world will sorely miss the online version of the NY Times if it fails to generate the profits to keep its organization online at all. This applies to all the major news sources like Wash. Times and Wash. Post, as well.

    Unless newspapers can generate online publication revenues sufficient to continue producing their outstanding content, the internet news community will lose extremely valuable sources for information and data, and that could seriously compromise the quality, range, and depth of blogger news coverage.

  • http://www.joethevoter.org Joe the voter

    Yes, blogs sometimes contain inaccurate and irrelevant information. But how is that different from Fox News? Why are they allowed to call themselves News ?

  • Christine

    The journalists and the news organizations have blurred the lines.

    It used to be that journalism stood for a record of the account of an event. In search of ratings and circulation, the editors started featuring columnists who had an objective to skew the published pieces. Now, unfortunately SOME journalists have become less credible than SOME bloggers.

    IF a blogger records the events w/o an agenda slant, it’s journalism.
    If a journalist is taking a slant, even by omission to create an illusion, it is not journalism. The loss of objectivity has destroyed journalism, it was once a ‘profession’ with standards.

    It’s not the person, it’s the work product.

    I noticed that some of those commenting on this forum decided to take aim at specific networks. To have decided that only one news outlet has commented the perceived ‘crime’ of propaganda would be ignoring the reality of almost every network or media group.

    There is no pure news media left that isn’t trying to sway public opinion one way or another.

    The only thing left to do is become an independent fact checker and critical thinker on your own.

    • Claudia

      I think that when the newspapers halt production, that more people will turn to the television, or possibly the newspapers have their own site if the information-seekers wish to utilize that as an option. It would be wise if paper copies become obsolete. In my humble opinion.

  • http://www.thomaspellechia.com Thomas

    The history of journalism in the U.S. belies the notion that it has always been an objective form of reporting. Besides that inconsistency, there is a difference between journalists who are on the beat and bloggers who compile from a variety of journalistic (and non-journalistic) sources.

    Compiling is not reporting. Talking about what has been compiled is also not reporting–it’s opining. There’s room for opinion in journalism, but it’s usually called what it is op-ed.

    A reporter is a fact finder, not a regurgitator.

    • KG Powderly

      The distinction between compiler and reporting is very real–ideally speaking. Journalism has a methodology that is supposedly based in a code of ethics–again, ideally. Not that bloggers are by definition unscrupulous. I often get more useful info, reported with greater integrity, on certain blogs than I do from the NY Times and other traditional newspapers. These “traditional papers,” in their mad rush to embrace moral and cultural relativism, have left journalistic ethics as a fading memory. I’ve taken to seeking idependant confirmation of story claims either way. Today, the difference between journalism and blogging may often in fact be just a semantical one–as NYT (and other newspaper’s) writers frequently grab stuff from ideologically favorable (to them) blogs, and present them in what is supposedly hard news (as opposed to op-ed). Given this development, I see a great future for blogging–provided it holds to something like what was once a set of real journalistic ethics (adapted to blogging). There is a difference between a real point-of-view and spin that is manufactured with social engineering in mind. While everyone is entitled to their point-of-view, not all points-of-view are equally educated or equally honest. Genuine investigative reporting must discover which are which. It is a logical fallacy to write in a way that assumes that just because absolute objectivity is impossible that there is therefore no such thing as real (if humanly finite) objectivity, and that objectivity should therefore be abandoned as a journalistic (or blogging) ethic.

    • Kristine

      very good point!

  • http://www.reedinter.co.uk/Blog.htm Legless in Thailand

    I cannot speak for other bloggers, just for myself. I just write things on my blog exactly the way that I see them and as accurately as I possibly can and although a journalist is supposed to do this also, I find that they now get caught up in sensationalism and probably have preconceived opinions about the subject that they are writing about.

    So I personally would much rather read a bloggers post these days.

    Legless in Thailand

  • http://www.naturecotour.com Max Hartman

    Ever since arriving in this Cruiseship Destination voted #1 Central American Destination of Choice at the Seatrade Convention in Florida in 2007, I have often wondered why our Locally tailored Blogs, which offer very relevant and up-to-date information for USA Tour Operators and USA Travel Agencies, with pictures taken by our own Digicamera (check them out under properties online!) and with excellent Weather information (no one else here even thinks about the importance of nighttime-weekend-holiday real time weather) aren’t taken more seriously.
    Must be Voodoo Tourism, just like Voodoo Economics (1983-2008).
    Please feel free to comment on our seeming decaying moral issues (we now love fantasies more than reality). Google Search caribbeancostaricans blogs and then laugh at the Big Boys and Girls.
    Twitter the caribbeancostar (It’s great being the underdog).
    Cheers and keep your heads up, fellow bloggers. We are the future of Local Journalism Worldwide!

    MAX HARTMAN
    Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

  • http://www.KevinWebb22.com Kevin Webb

    The New York Times isn’t doing their job, and continues to print false stories, and then refuses to admit they were wrong after the fact. That is why they are going out of business. Same with all of the liberal media out there. It is no coincidence why Fox News has destroyed the liberal media outlets that are in bed with Obama… it is because Fox News still does objective reporting.

    • http://575488trillion.com Walter Paul Bebirian

      Perhaps – just perhaps – now that there are so many alternative sources for different information and people now have a choice as to what they can both spend their time reading about as well as when they do this reading – there is the drop of from the interest in what was traditional – headline news – not that there is no interest in those headline news stories at all – but there may be many more opportunities for people to write on their blogs both about subjects and with details much different than was previously possible in the format of the standard newspaper magazine environment –

    • http://www.francislee.com.au Francis Australian SEO

      I think its no where near as bad as asian countries where the truth is never broadcasted and children are taught on parts of their history.

    • MrPuhLeeze

      …with the occasional snicker and snide remark. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a liberal. I just think they are too opinionated to be “fair and balanced!”

  • Kristine

    Oh this debate always makes me so angry. Bloggers are not journalists! And I blog, so I am not speaking from the side of the newspapers. I don’t care how many people follow them or how good they are or how much they know a journalist is a someone who has accountability to a fact checker and an organization. If you are Ted Koppel and you make a mistake in a presentation you lose your job. If you are a blogger you are beholden to know one. You can use your powers for good or for evil, but you never have to own up to anything that is incorrect.

    For example, I am a doctoral student. When I write a paper, I must source everything. I must refer everything. This is checked and I can be expelled from school for writing something that is plagiarized. This is not true of a undergraduate works. I can write a paper on anything and cite nothing and it can be turned and graded without issue, not so my graduate work.

    While I am not saying there are not good bloggers out there, I am saying that bloggers are not journalists. It is not a matter of who writes it, it is a matter of who you are accountable to when you write it.

    BLOGGERS get a grip – admit it… I am not a journalist when I write a blog and neither are you.

    I could go on and on, but this is just making more and more angry, so will end here…

    • Kristine

      BTW I am not saying Bloggers do not have a place in the modern arena we call journalism, but I am saying that the distinction must be honored. I want to know when I read something that it is not just some thought someone had. I want to know that it has been well researched and well checked and well thought out and that the person writing it has accountability. Does this mean journalists are perfect and all are great, no. What it does mean is I should know the difference when I read something. BLOGGERS ARE NOT JOURNALISTS and never should be considered so.

      • http://www.TheDatabaseDiva.com Lori Feldman

        Is he/she still a journalist? When I went to journalism school, the definition of a journalist was someone who sought to report the truth…with 3 separate sources confirmating that truth before the story was publshed. What mixes people up is news vs features and corroborated vs. uncorroborated stories (vs. opinion pieces). The publishing medium does not determine the credentials. The plane-crash victim who first Twittered about the crash scooped that news story as a journalist, in my opinion. The story was no less a story until the “traditional news media” arrived.

  • http://www.savewareworkspace.com MrSaveware

    How are you supposed to eat a sunny side up egg with bacon and drink your coffee and use a laptop to read the news at the breakfast table? You do know now if you spill that coffee into your keyboard and it had sugar in it, the keyboard is toast (No pun intended)! How can you share the funny papers with the kids or the give the local shopping mall pages to the wife? It may break down the family time…

    Good thing I past 1st grade so I can do those nice math quizzes they give us to post. Is that to keep the really young kids out of the posts? LOL Maybe not though, they give a example of 1+3 enter 4, Maaaaaa!

    Well the internet is taking over a lot of our normal every day life and beyond. I still see mail order brides in the news papers. Now if you can’t afford a computer to go on a good dating site, then how you going to mail away for a bride, you have to visit her in her in most countries to get a K1 Visa before you can bring her here.

    Even cold calling, direct mail marketing and yes E-Mail, etc. finding customers, is now more inexpensive to use web sites to bring customers to you.

    Some types of Brick and Mortar stores are going out of busienss because of the Internet. My own BBS (Bulletin Board System, 56k dial up local only), I had to convert it to a web presences, but then soon find out so much competition I finally gave up because I could not back then invest as much as the big boys. Needless to say I lost a lot of money on trying.

    It is this ever changing world it is dog eat dog. If we can’t beat them join them.

    Well you have to role with the punches. I switched products and doing ok now on the Internet.

    Even water you have to pay for it in a bottle now days. Well at least Air is still free. Oh, No, darn, have to pay to get my tire inflated, I forgot.

    MrSaveware

    • MrPuhLeeze

      First of all, I’m not quite sure if you really followed the point but based on your response, you seem to be fighting technology. So let’s dissect your comment, shall we?

      Chances are, your wife and kids have a laptop as well. You can share the funnies and advertisements by pointing them to the right page. You ALL can read them at the same time! What a wondrous thing. As to spilling your coffee, it seems that unfolding a newspaper so large that it hides you from your family (ahem…addressing your point about family) will hide your coffee as well. If you shift just a tad or a smidgen of an angle, you can view the laptop AND the coffee, possibly avoiding any undesired spilling effects.

      You made it through the first grade. However, you may not have made it through the second. This is where you would have learned the difference between “past” and “passed” or “role” and roll.” PLUS…you might have learned punctuation (depending on your school system, obviously). As far as mail order brides are concerned, well…WHAT??? What does this have to do with ANYTHING? Ok…if you can’t afford a pc for dating sites, and the local paper is forced out of business, then, yes, perhaps your dating life may suffer. However, computers are getting cheaper by the minute which is why information is forcing “Brick and Mortar” places under. Oh…by the way, although I LOVED BBS’s, they were not “Brick and Mortar.” It shouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist to see that a dial up local site (that being a site that catered to a small percentage of the immediate public) was going to be faced with other local sites once bandwidth increased tenfold. This is just my 2 cents…a bit more than I would have sunk into a dying technology.

      Lastly, you’ve ALWAYS had to pay for water (unless you had your own well…but then you had to pay for the equipment to retrieve it…you know, a pump). You don’t have to buy bottled water. You can drink from the tap…that you’re paying for. Also, air IS free…if you want to breathe it (of course, that is also a choice). The guy at the gas station trying to make a living is counting on your $.75 so that he may maintain the air pump and feed his chihuahua as well. You can buy an air pump for $20 at Wal-Mart and keep it in your vehicle for just such an occasion. Alas, you may not have a cigarette lighter that works so that may not be an option. By the way, mine is 1 + 17. If I answer this correctly, then I am not likely to post “Anna has new sexy thighs.”

      All this said, I’ll address the point of the article. Information is readily available on the web and, guess what folks? This is my new source of news. The blogger is allowed to have an opinion whereas reporters try to mask their agendas. Eventually, you’ll get a taste of what that agenda may be. At that point, it’s time to hold on to your hats and wait for the wave of apologies. At least with blogs, you get what you’re looking for.

  • http://hughzebeezlaughs.blogspot.com Hughze

    I really wouldn’t miss a lot of these big news outfits if they did go down because of blogging because one of their biggest flaws is political opinion. I really don’t care who they want to vote for or who they want me to vote for. I don’t care what causes they think everyone should follow or what causes they follow. I get tired of them leaving out details they don’t want us to know because it doesn’t support their causes or beliefs. When I read the news, I want to read news with all the details. So I’ve turned to the internet to find more informative news and you know what, I’ve found what I’m looking for.

  • http://www.grabanytime.blogspot.com Guest

    A journalist is a professional who gather’s all matters and present’s to the people via press and media. But a Blogger is posting many messages including the published ,read, and from his thoughts,his /her views on any matter, and mainly justifying only advertisements to please the viewer’s /people to get informed to grow business.
    a journalist being a tool to provide all then and their lively happenings to the notice of the people through press and media. Journalists are paid by press and media , is a definite source of income ,whereas a blogger like me ,only if got google rank and advertisers acceptance and approval from sponsor’s will allow my /our earnings. this is not definite earning. since google makes changes in its Rank often.Here a blogger can be a blogger at all times,where as a journalist can becomea owner/president/chairman,/a borad of director level in a press /media office.
    certainly this is true. look in to my case , google did not put rank even after few months. this blog http://grabanytimemoney.blogspot.com had google page rank 3. now it has become 0. so no earnings to me. Even advertiser’s like Izea/and unit of it,payperpost,socialspark will not approve blogs . their is a very good understanding between Izea /payperpost/social spark,and google team. you can see only few people repeatedly will have approval from this sites and allowed to earn money. But the other advertiser’s aho also have certain disciplines accept all blogs and uniformly offers opportunities to serve and earn to all bloggers.
    Though Yahoo and Google are one and the same , you cannot have all facility of google blogger at yahoo 7 360 blog. This yahoo 7 360 product blog is not perfectly designed as google blogspot home page. Here at yahoo 7 360 you do not have any features to get business or earnings from advertiser’s. though google is a unit of Yahoo , Google always wants its seperate entity and quality and not to be par with a gaint yahoo. foe example Yahoo blog is not at all accepted by any advertiser’s. so no possibility of earnings to people as blogger,but yahoo certainly derives earning’s from blogs. Yahoo is a oneway traffic company which earns but do not allow other’s to earn.Google must comeforward to help yahoo team in designing and rules and regulations /term and conditions for blogging and may instruct yahoo blogs to have the best feature’s of a google blog as unique ,since both are one and the same company. if they do not agree on this and if they are not coming forward to regularise these small matters than in a short feature (by 2011 or before to it) , the ego of this Teams will shatter the business of Yahoo. The great Yahoo will not be in existance.
    even in yahoo mails you can find lot of mail undelivered,/domain failure etc. but in Google it is not their. basicaly google has give informations to rectify all mistakes of yahoo is ver much needed.
    Gmail is simple,but yahoo is not simple ,but not complicated.
    Yahoo is doing all business thro few companies like e Bay etc,Google allows all bloggers to work and get paid. Policy wise also in business Google allows many people survival.Though it allows few to enjoy huge earnings from Izea/payperpost/socialspark.etc. these companies will reject your blogs on so many reasons for so many times. Actually baseless and principle less team is Izea. If Izea needs in no time ,in online arrangement Google offers Google Rank. so Google is perfect but not 100% perfect.some deviations are there. this is my personal experience.
    Also i humbly request all people not have any blogs at opera blog,this blogging here is meaningless. If you comment any miskes of them immidiately they ban your blog,instead of scrutinying the matter or mistake. It is not because of their proud value but because of Jealous on Google and headweight of their own . this has to get changed.Also i want to inform in feature in computer industry, In Browser even though opera is a fast browser,it do not have any other adjustment/understanding to the society in terms of business/living/humanity/industry/economy etc. so Opera will not be everlasting ,it will ruin in its own wrong rules and activities. this is going to happen in a short future. Opera will not be in the browsing industry of computer world.
    The present economy is challanged by U K Government with all other nations on the earth with U N O. but At U S the crisis is at large extent,why it has happened?how it was happene. because it has been allowed to happen like this due to bad administration which allowed few people to earn all .so first we need to allow all people to get do their business and start their survival. Again it will allow a growth in all industry. with out allowing all no body can challange this crisis. it will be a failure one. Atlast war/bloodshed’s and other bad activioties will emerge on the earth. this should not be allowed on the earth. we human people set an example to the future generation ,to educate them how to live simple .?how to start a small industry/small business?How we are going to energise the people to undertsand all matters connected to a loan offer?simple term s must be derived internationally for Loan offers by Banks which should be easily understandable to even illitrates.First to clear the fear in all people mind. must make people/new faces to come again, in all business. Allow all Government offices /private concerns, public concerns etc to have joint venture in all fields with common easy terms (IMP-EX), rules and regulations .
    In this direction i have also mailed and published my request to Obama and Gordon Brown to View my opinions to comeover the crisis. but they have a lot of genious people with them so they might not have considered. My views will have a lot of easy changes on the earth.
    Please make easy rules to have easy relationship with all countrymen. No terrorism. each men must be a terror towards Love and humanity.This must be organised immidiately. Create the feeling to share ant thing betwen the people to live. may not be proportionately but share something.do not allow the plate of few as empty.
    If this present condition continues, then the feature will be having definitely countable people as RICH and others will be their servants and slaves. this will be the fate of our future generation by 2020. so beaware and bring easy rules to populate and role money with all people on earth. First attempt to make all people must have the income to meet out the standard of Living.
    While Information Technology and computer industry professionals are employed with huge salary is a mistake of that time . few years back this is the scenario. now the computer industry is also ruining. not to allowthis ruin. All nation,s must comeforward to design an Income Table payable to people for their job. This standard may have slight deviation as per the business nature and its population.while the nation’s paid a lumpsum salary to It Industry people they have completly forgotten the other people in other industry. they have not realised the mistake. while other people failed to face or disturbed to face the conomical challanges the crisis started towards its peak. now It is necessary to design a standard of Income to people in all area /in all business in all Nations. In this matter U N O has to Join its Hand with U S and U K and all nations on the earth. we people must not see a American/British/France/Russian/chinese/japanese/etc in financial crisis or few in hungerin those countries. All nations has enjoyed and shared the business and wealth of nations like U S ,U K ,France,Russia,China,Japan,Germany etc. otherwise their economy will not had such crisis now. it will happen by 2025 with their own population. these countries allowed all people from all nation to share everything from their soil to other nation’s which we belong.Now it is the mandatory duty to support to the nation in crisis with joint venture. All Nation must be called by U N O for a emergency meet and should advise all to support each other in simple terms and easy bilateral relations.
    U N O must call for a “International people’s emergency fund” and “International business emergency fund” and these should be controled by World Bank with UNO Team of executives. This fund generated has to be flown in to all nation’s but immidiate and most urgent to where the crisis is severe. we should not see the people on earth in any Part must not face a problem to live or a problem to face the standard of living cost on any day.
    Let us Hope we will certainly achieve a good result over crisis. i will say my opinion to my dear Gordon Brown or Barack obama ib their sites or any person if seeked.
    with love R.k.sundararajan. rksr3333@gmail.com,rksr3333@yahoo.com,
    +91044 23713371.
    In urgent typing if any mistakes found gramatically please forgive me.

  • http://www.site-booster.com/blog/ Rahman 4 SEO Services

    Undoubtedly there are a lot more bloggers out there than journalists. In general, journalists are better trained to do their jobs, but what bloggers write are more natural impression and feelings as 100s of 1000s of them see in everyday life and broadcast for the fellow readers.
    Bloggers are less structured in the frameworks of what a given news agency intends to say. They say whatever they individually feel is alright and real.
    People tend to read online a lot more and would like to hear from someone who’s just like themselves, meaning bloggers. So, chances are the bloggers style of writing becomes the future’s dominant style and their posts the most read ones. This adds to the popularity of the blogging and more and more people, who are fed up with the biased media, will rely on the impartial blogosphere.

  • http://www.essi-edu.com Michael Sadowski

    I think that the big difference between a blogger and a journalist is in how they address the audience. That is to say a lot of blogger do really know how to communicate what they are trying to present and the audience walks away a lot of the time wondering what the blog was all about verses learning anything. Now journalist knows what audience they are after and they gear their writing to entice them into their web like a spider. They draw one in through their words and get the idea across without confusing one. Is that not what we all want? That is to be informed and have our questions answered in such a way that we want more info but are not confused..

  • http://www.patrickmcmurray.com Patrick McMurray

    Communicating has to develop on all levels, grammar becomes second to subject matter, a journalist has an vocab of about 12,000 words, the average person about 3,000, I guess this is the only thing that distinguishes a blogger from a journo.

    • http://lifeat70.com Guest

      The NUMBER of words one knows does not make them a journalist.

  • Sandy

    I just finished reading a series of interviews on the future of journalism. (it included journalists, academics, and media professionals. You could tell that the newspaper industry is clueless as to what the answer is. The Christian Science Monitor editor was also interviewed, and he was talking about how CSM has gone totally digital. I highly recommend this series:

    http://www.ourblook.com/The-Media/The-Future-of-Journalism.html

  • http://www.mineful.com Guest

    1) The source
    2) Opinion, author’s bias
    3) Content usefulness

  • Guest

    The difference is the search for fact-based truth. Journalists owe their audience the truth, no matter how they feel about the topic. Bloggers seem to have a more flexible approach to fact-based truth.

    • http://wfol.tv Kazi Mahmood

      A blogger from Pakistan said to me, commenting on my news analysis piece on his country: Very well putted!

      I would say you said it all here with your succinct comment.

  • http://medianowonline.com/news Yusuf

    I am a good blogger (http://hindivani.blogspot.com ) and journalist too. There is no control on blogging and suppose if I have some personal opnion against Mr Barack Obama, I can write it with confort at my blog. But I file this for my newspaper I have to take responsibilty and accountability of that story. I think this is major fact which reflects that blogger will never take the place of a journalist.
    Print journalism will never die. In India every year newspaper readers are increasing.

    • http://www.inspiero.com Harris

      I am a blogger-turning journalist. I think there less than an inch distance between a blogger and journalist.

      the difference is that my writing as a journalist will relate facts with much of concern for bringing factual truth to people. while as a blogger, i put a lot of my personal opinion in it.

      • http://wfol.tv Kazi Mahmood

        I have seen many crappy journalists but I have also seen very few great bloggers who can be called ‘journalists’. The reason for bloggers to fail – according to my standards – to be called journalists is simply because they do not write the stuff like a journalist, professionally trained, would do.

        I am based in Malaysia and the biggest websites are still the newspapers despite the fact that some blogs and online news agencies (like mine) are thriving. The most popular blog on the Malaysian websphere is Malaysia Today and it still lack the journalistic flavor, the professionalism in writing and in exposing the subject matter. Most of the Editor’s stories are blog entries and opinion pieces. Repetition in the stories are common on blogs and we do not see that even with the worst and crappy journalists in Malaysia for example.

        When we compare blogs written by some professional journalists in Malaysia to that of ordinary bloggers, we can see the article formation, the story line and the suppression of the sins made by bloggers in such blogspots.

        I think these separates the bloggers from the true journalists and it will take a long time for bloggers to learn to write like journalists in order to beat the newspapers (printed or online). It is a question of formation and perhaps, we should offer article writing and other journalistic courses for bloggers so that they can catch up with the profesional writers!

        I have been a journalist for the past 30 years myself and my website is not a blog like people in Malaysia calls it since it is an online News and Analysis website!

      • http://www.chicgalleria.com Chic Gal

        I totally agree with Harris’ comment. I am also a blogger turned journalist and the big different for me is how I present the material. My articles are much more fact related now. Blogging is all about personal opinion.

  • http://www.diamondonnet.com Diamonds

    Journalist = Facts (not really since half of the news you see are ads)
    Blogger = Opinions

    • http://www.bloginstallationservice.com Zulfikar

      In my my opinion there is only one fundamental difference and that is; A journalist reports the facts as they where else a blogger talks about it from their point of view.

      journalist = fact based
      blogger = opinion based

      • http://commart.typepad.com Oppenheim

        Although I started my blog as a creative showcase, I became involved in conflict and commentary, and through that I’ve found myself drawn more deeply into related areas of study that lead to unique compilations of informations as well as encounters, finally, with primary sources. I have no advertiser funding and very few readers, but some of the referrals are interesting. Not too many writers put in their two cents about, say, the Pashtun, polio, and the Taliban in Pakistan.

        As regards funding, I’m independent–a true citizen journalist–but while I may cover a local or regional event, I’m in no position to afford regular away-from-the-computer day and overnight travel. Producing that would seem to require institutional or organizational wherewithal or, alternatively, something like a grant-funded focus, reducing my posting frequency but perhaps far improving the quality of information making its way on to my blog.

  • Guest

    Accountability

  • Guest

    Accountability

  • Guest

    Accountability

    • Guest

      Ah, if only it were true.

  • http://3gpmelayu.com laling

    1.What separates a Blogger from a Journalist? A degree and an institution to write for? I do it for free? I don’t think we are all that different. Would you seek the truth from someone who gets paid or from someone who does it because they care and felt a story was important? I will say not all bloggers are good enough to be journalists and I don’t think all bloggers are trying to be journalists. The bloggers that are good enough will stand apart from the rest and step up to this challenge.

    2. Like webpronews.com I have right to put comment here bad or good and next commentator will decide and I don’t think so opportunity to commenting article in newspaper where I don’t agree at all especially where the source come in? Blogger have a digg.com or link popularity and great feeling when your opinion was digging and blogging by others bloggers in bloggers atmosphere.. Awesome yah!! we not alone.

    • http://journalism.winchester.ac.uk Chris Horrie

      The BBC was going to do hyperlocal news in the UK, but it was ruled out by regulators on monopoly grounds. So it is complicated.

  • http://lakehavasuunderfire.com Terri Holley

    I actually have a degree in journalism that has been absolutely of no use to me. For two years I have been begging newspaper and television reporters for their help in airing a crime. I have been turned away from every news outlet I have contacted. I have been at the mercy of journalists and reporters throughout this ordeal. Newspapers and television journalist and reporters pick and choose the stories that get reported and are notorious for excluding stories which they feel make them liable in any manner for reporting the story.

    I desperately needed help in getting this story out to the general public, in an attempt to get these individuals prosecuted. I was repeatedly told that the story could not go public via any media outlet prior to legal documents being filed in a court of law. I begged and pleaded and those out cries for help always landed on deaf ears. Threats against my life were made repeatedly, and requests for police protection were refused repeatedly.

    I created my site in Feb. of 2009. Since posting the story and all of the overwhelming evidence to my site, things have begun to look up. My site has been viewed several times by ATF, FBI, US Department of Justice, State of Arizona and Lake Havasu City local and Government officials. An investigation is finally underway after two years for Arson, Terrorist and Criminal Threats, Possession, Possession with Intent To Distribute, and on and on. If I had to rely on the medias help, I would still be at a stand still.

  • http://stores.ebay.com/tonyas-dynamic-designs?refid=store http://www.TonyasDynamicDesigns.com

    Great article Chris! I personally love to blog. I don’t consider myself to be a journalist. I do however consider myself to be a “Blog Ghost Writer” for small and large businesses. It is a lot of FUN! It is even MORE FUN when I see that I am getting my clients placed HIGHER in Search Engines all from my blogging!=)

    HIGH SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS = MORE WEBSITE TRAFFIC!!!!

    I am an eBay Powerseller and specialize in
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    If anyone needs Custom Website Designs or
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  • http://www.ciphermysteries.com/ Nick Pelling

    I think the key difference is that print journalists are accountable before publication (i.e. they have to be able to demonstrate a sound research methodology), whereas bloggers are accountable after posting (i.e. they have to be able to fight their corner against hostile commenters).

    These form two very different (but complementary) ways to fight your way towards some kind of truth (or influence).

    Of course, the implications of this are (a) that a journalist who does not research properly is not really a journalist, and (b) that a blogger who does not allow comments is not really a blogger.

    And I think we’ve seen enough of both of these. :-(

  • http://www.affiliatesoncrack.com Nicole Girl

    I totally agree with Zulfikar that Blogger are indeed write things on that they think about, their thoughts or opinion which is indeed a total biased compared to a journalist, because Journalist indeed make stories or report a news based on the facts that they have gathered with proves or supporting documents and indeed unbiased.

  • http://www.signature.gb.com Web design kent

    It’s been said before, but it’s down to accountability. As a journalist your putting your career on the line and putting your newspaper at risk. If your editor publishes your false or plagiarised story they could end up in court are at least have to print a public retraction.

    The blogging community isn’t under such public scrutiny and therefore uncensored, so they have more freedom.

    I’m not in favour of changing it, as I love blogging, but if I we’re a journalist I’d be doing everything possible to differentiate and protect my exclusives.

    This is a very, very important discussion and I think could well end up in the courts with far reaching consequences.

    • Guest

      It’s ironic to say that accountability is the difference, I’ve seen many journalists who print unsubstantiated inuendo and accusations and get a full pass on it. Accountability is neccessary, yes, but I don’t think we have much of it in today’s journalistic world.

  • http://-annathisisyourworld.blogspot.com/ Anna Storer

    Bit of a two edged sword. But I think that the two forms of writing and reporting can and should compliment each other. Blogging is much more freelance while journalisim is more of a commitment to write for which ever news mogual is willing to pay you for your work. Both sides of the coin do have guidelines,rules,terms and legal requirements. All in all – It’s whatever ‘Tickles Your Fancy’.

  • http://www.melmenzies.co.uk Mel Menzies

    I like to think, as an established author, that my blog is both informative and governed by integrity. My aim, like that of a journalist, is to educate my readers by providing them with facts and advice which will help them to make rational judgements about their own lives, and the direction they choose to take, as well as about society in general.

    But that said, I have to admit that much of my research nowadays is online rather than from published books and journals which have been scrutinised and vetted by a team of editors. This has to be the biggest failing of the internet, and the main difference between a blogger and a journalist. We are not accountable to anyone; they are.

    I have long thought that the internet, powerful and wonderful though it is, may yet prove to be the next Tower of Babel. It makes gods of us all in that it enables us to be omniscient, omipresent, expert and independent. How long before our ‘expertise’ is shown to be diluted by misinformation, and the whole thing clatters down around our ears?

  • http://thevegandiet.blogspot.com/ Jackie

    I am not a blogger who could never ever be classified as a journalist as my grammar is poor and my posts are probably amateurish but about 20% of bloggers are unlike me they are absolutely brilliant!!

    I have read newspapers since I was 5 years old due to my Father being a newspaper man but they never thrilled me as much blogs do.
    Blogs cover all my favourite subjects from politics to veganism and everyday I cannot wait to check in and see if they have been updated.

    It can only do well, it improves the wrotten word by all and might even get more people to move from blogs to writing short stories or even a novels.

  • http://www.effectivebusiness.info/ Guest

    The basic difference between the two is blogging is more informal and more of general subjects.

  • http://www.thesilverpeoplechronicle.com Lydia

    I edit and write for a historical type niche blog and I find that the popularity of bloggers is on the rise primarily because of the interactive nature of blogs. Any newspaper worth its salt has to have a blogger on staff and keep up their “connectedness” with their readers. Blogs tend to have this intimacy edge over newspapers lending them more flexibility. This is perhaps the biggest difference in our world today between bloggers and journalists.

  • http://www.paragraphink.com Jon Sidener

    I think it’s interesting that Steve Outing picked Apple bloggers as an example. I was a print journalist whose sprawling beat covered Apple. There’s no doubt that many of the Apple bloggers knew more about the company and its products than I did, as described by Mr. Outing. There are bloggers doing journalism who break news about the company, pull no punches and risk getting sued.
    On the other hand, there are far more “fan boy” blogs with no interest in objectivity, accuracy or fairness. On these sites, rumor is printed as fact often attributed to “my source at Apple.” How is the reader going to know the well-informed niche-topic blogger from the biased, ill-informed writers?

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