Thursday, March 10, 2005

Blogging and Free Speech 

I'm sure you've read discussions asking whether blogging is journalism. This fellow argues that bloggers and journalists are one and the same and should be accorded the same rights. ( I suppose this means both can go to jail for failing to disclose confidential sources.) This fellow agrees but notes the hypocrisy of bloggers wanting to be journalists one moment but not the next.

Online Journalism Review has decided if you are going to be a blogger, you might as well act like a journalist. And this fellow dislikes the term "blogging" completely:

You know, "BLOGGING". I mean the word "blogger" or "blogging". It's meaningless. Saying "bloggers are x or y" is equally meaningless. Someone claiming to speak for bloggers is more than meaningless it is delusional. Treating "bloggers" as a group, a species, a breed, or anything else is meaningless. As I noted previously, the word "blogger" is an empty vessel into which too many, pour too much, in order to mean too little.

Does that make everything clearer? No? I thought not. I side with those who see blogging as one more extension of journalism because neither journalism nor PR is a profession. Both are crafts anyone can practice under the First Amendment guarantee of Free Speech. Because anyone can engage in journalism, we have unethical hacks working alongside courageous reporters. It is up to the public to determine who is credible and who isn't. This, or course, is true of PR. You are what you make of yourself in PR, and you can never count on the business to lift your image, unless you started as a used car salesperson.

Journalists like to think of themselves as saving the world and PR practitioners as building and protecting reputation. Those are noble thoughts, but hardly reality. Let's not forget that.


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