Tuesday, April 12, 2005

What Can Bloggers Do That Reporters Can't? - And vice versa. By Jack Shafer

How much of a journalist is a blogger? When does a blogger become a journalist? Read on...

Not that long ago, you had to be a professional reporter to publish defective copy. Not any more. Thanks to blogs, the journalist monopoly on the wide-scale propagation of blunders, boo-boos, and bloopers has vanished. Now, complete amateurs can embarrass themselves before huge audiences.

Bloggers demonstrated their skill at botching a story last month when a swarm of them accused the Washington Post and ABC News of journalistic malpractice. The two news organizations had reported on the existence of a GOP talking-points memo about Terri Schiavo. The bloggers asserted it was a Ratherian fake. As Eric Boehlert details in Salon, the nay-saying blogs consumed terabytes of bandwidth denouncing the Post and ABC. Powerline, Michelle Malkin, the American Spectator's Prowler, PoliPundit, and Accuracy in Media led the charge.

After the Post and others proved the legitimacy of the document on April 7, bloggers proved themselves the equals of their mainstream media colleagues once more by ignoring or glossing over their goof. Boehlert writes, "scanning the blogs involved in the memo story, readers found few corrections or references to lessons learned."

What Can Bloggers Do That Reporters Can't? - And�vice versa. By Jack Shafer

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