Are bloggers journalists?

BloggerA topic has been discussed recently by a bunch of A-list bloggers that crops up from time to time as apparently these A-list bloggers are a bit obsessed by it.  The conversation deals with whether bloggers are journalists and how bloggers should act if so.  I know this is a bit off-topic for jkOnTheRun but it keeps coming up and I want to share my thoughts on it.  Now I know that these A-list bloggers will not even see this as they only read each other but here goes anyway.  First of all I understand why these bloggers are concerned about it as there comes a certain level of responsibility when a blogger gets outspoken enough to get a big audience.  With a public forum comes a level of awareness with what the blogger says that means the blogger should act with an appropriate deportment whether he/she likes it or not.

I don’t particularly worry about whether I should be considered a journalist or not.  I have been referred to as a journalist by main-stream media (MSM) for what that’s worth but I don’t really care.  You see the way I view it it doesn’t matter if the blogger thinks he/she is a journalist or not.  It also doesn’t matter if MSM thinks the blogger is a journalist or not either.  The only group that matters at all is the readers.  Yes, these bloggers should only worry what their readers think of them, not each other.  With a public forum comes a big responsibility in what bloggers say and do.  A few simple rules that I follow would go a long way to alleviating the concern in the minds of the A-listers.

  1. Always tell the truth.  It doesn’t matter how trivial the topic or how serious.  The truth will set you free and keep you that way.
  2. Opinions matter but only if they are clearly identified as such.  Don’t pass opinions off as fact and your readers will keep trusting what you say.
  3. Never quote a statistic without revealing the source.  Bloggers are starting to fall into the same pit that MSM journalists often fall into by quoting some arcane statistic that is meaningless.  Let the reader decide if the source means it’s a reliable statistic or not.

These rules may seem to be simple common sense as they are but they are violated so much every single day by bloggers and even MSM journalists.  Trust is earned and must be kept and these rules will help see that it lives.  Trust is the key ingredient in the relationship between bloggers and their readers and is not guaranteed nor should it be.  Earn it with the truth and you’ll keep it a long, long time.  Until you violate one of these rules and your intentions start getting questioned.  That’s my take on it, anyway.