My Notes for Opening the Bloggers & Journalists Panel

To start, we’d like to address, and in fact break down, the false dichotomy between Blogging and Journalism. A lot has been written on the subject. I think one of the best summaries is by Jay Rosen-blogger and journalist—on his PRESSthink site.

The question now isn't whether blogs can be journalism. They can be, sometimes. It isn't whether bloggers "are" journalists. They apparently are, sometimes. We have to ask different questions now because events have moved the story forward.By "events" I mean things on the surface we can see, like the tsunami story…
Or, he might have said, Hurricane Katrina.

He continues later, quoting Scott Rosenberg, managing editor of Salon:

Typically, the debate about blogs today is framed as a duel to the death between old and new journalism. Many bloggers see themselves as a Web-borne vanguard, striking blows for truth-telling authenticity against the media-monopoly empire.
Many newsroom journalists see bloggers as wannabe amateurs badly in need of some skills and some editors.

This debate is stupidly reductive -- an inevitable byproduct of (I'll don my blogger-sympathizer hat here) the traditional media's insistent habit of framing all change in terms of a "who wins and who loses?" calculus. The rise of blogs does not equal the death of professional journalism. The media world is not a zero-sum game. Increasingly, in fact, the Internet is turning it into a symbiotic ecosystem -- in which the different parts feed off one another and the whole thing grows. …

Later in the same piece, he quotes an exchange between Xeni Jardin, co-editor of the hugely popular BoingBoing, and John Schwartz of the New York Times. Jarin says arguing about whether blogs would replace the major news media is like asking "will farmers' markets replace restaurants?"

"One is a place for rich raw materials," she continued. "One represents a different stage of the process." Blogging from the tsunami, she said, is "more raw and immediate," but the postings still lack the level of trust that has been earned by more established media. "There is no ombudsman for the blogosphere," she said. "One will not replace the other, but I think the two together are good for each other."

So we want to start off by asking our panel which includes bloggers and journalists, about this division.

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