Why people blog

Why people blog: “Storytelling, not journalism, spurs most blogs” is the headline on a Reuters story about a new study from those Pew Trust folks who are always studying stuff so we don’t have to. I think too often the meaning of the word “journalism” is needlessly debated by bloggers, and about bloggers. I actually am a journalist, but what I do here is not journalism — except when it is. I don’t lie. I express opinions. I’m transparent in my motives and relationships. When I’m just passing on gossip, I admit it. But the reason this weblog exists and the reason I post to it has more to do with telling stories than about journalism — unless you want to debate the meaning of the word, and I don’t.

Update: Dave Winer: “And the story here isn’t the big picture, get your mind out of the aggregate, and start thinking about the small picture. And blogs aren’t driving the change in perspective, they just reflect it.”

Observation: I think bloggers say they’re not journalists because they believe to do so would place a limit — perhaps even demean — what it is they’re doing. They’re observing, recording, entertaining, interpreting, screening, pointing to, calling out, casting out, body slamming, I could go on. To put the journalism label on what is taking place is to place it in a very small box. It’s like calling everything that’s on TV “journalism.” Maybe the news shows are, but do game shows fall under the “journalism” label? That said, if it’s journalism you want (again, whatever ‘journalism’ means), then I can’t think of a better means to practice it than to allow everyone equal opportunity to record how they experience the world — or a specific event in their neighborhood — from their unique point of view.

  • scott

    i would think embracing the term journalist would be a wise move for most bloggers, if for no other reason than being able to gain some of the protections journalists get regarding what they write, protecting sources, etc. i’m not well-versed on legal protections, but i have to imagine that anytime a blogger gets sued, they would instantly consider themself a member of the press. plus, journalist sounds better than pajama pundit or armchair commentarian!

  • bhudgins
  • Michael

    Love your passion! and I agree with your comments on the “tiresome” debate of whether blogging “is or isn’t” journalism.

    The question just seems to offer MSM and others a way to demean the venue (Blogosphere) while inhibiting them from seeing the growth of the forest (Free Speech) for the trees. Many of the so called real Journalists are actually missing the big story here for their fear of loss.

    At the core of most blogs, perhaps folks just plain and simple like to communicate: transmit, receive, and connect to and from other folks. I like to think that Ray Bradbury is happy about blogs: They’re the NEW “Park Bench.” http://deepblog.com/whyiblog.html

  • Michael

    Love your passion! and I agree with your comments on the “tiresome” debate of whether blogging “is or isn’t” journalism.

    The question just seems to offer MSM and others a way to demean the venue (Blogosphere) while inhibiting them from seeing the growth of the forest (Free Speech) for the trees. Many of the so called real Journalists are actually missing the big story here for their fear of loss.

    At the core of most blogs, perhaps folks just plain and simple like to communicate: transmit, receive, and connect to and from other folks. I like to think that Ray Bradbury is happy about blogs: They’re the NEW “Park Bench.” http://deepblog.com/whyiblog.html