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“ Bloggers should not be considered journalists ” Katherine Colville Student No. 2007931557 What is a blogger? a person who keeps and updates a blog. Blog: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Web log. Source: Dictionary.com

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Bloggers should not be considered journalists l.jpg

Bloggers should not be considered journalists”

Katherine Colville

Student No. 2007931557


What is a blogger l.jpg
What is a blogger?

  • a person who keeps and updates a blog.

  • Blog: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Web log.

    Source: Dictionary.com


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Who is a journalist?

  • Journalist: a person who practices the occupation or profession of journalism.

    Source: Dictionary.com

  • A Journalist employs ethics and standards in their reporting.


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Essential Elements to Good Journalism:

  • “Truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability — as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent reportage to the public.”

    Source:(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalism_ethics_and_standards)


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Reasons Why Bloggers Shouldn’t be Considered Journalists:

  • Most bloggers have had no training in journalism, in particular most are not aware of key journalistic standards, such as:

  • Traditional forms of journalistic writing;

  • They have not studied media law and ethics;

  • To present all sides of the story, in an unbiased manner;

  • To verify authenticity of information before publishing it;

  • To minimize harm (not to blatantly insult people online, as many bloggers seem to do);

  • To write original articles of interest to the public.

    How could anyone possibly think that a blogger ‘ranting’ about a topic which interests them is equivalent to journalism – a profession that people study 3-4 years to achieve?


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Freedom of Expression

Article 27 of the Basic Law:

“Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and publication…”

Article 16 of the BORO:

(2) “…freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print…”

Source: Hong Kong Media Law, Weisenhaus, D. p. 4.


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  • I am not arguing against a blogger’s freedom of expression. I contend that a blogger does have a right to freedom of expression but they should not be considered a journalist (unless of course, the blogger happens to be a trained journalist).


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However

  • Freedom of expression carries with it responsibilities:

    Article 16 (3)

    “The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2…carries with it special duties and responsibilities…”

    In particular, respecting the rights and reputations of others is important.


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Bloggers Behaving Badly

  • Many bloggers sling accusations, with no proof, violating their right to freedom of expression and responsibility to respect the rights and reputations of others.

  • Bloggers often use rude language which is definitely not a journalistic trait.

  • Many bloggers do not use their real name eg. Bloggers calling themselves ‘Guy Kawasaki’, ‘KMS2’ or ‘Phani’ (how accountable are they really, for what they write?). “anonymity or wacky pseudonyms undermines their credibility”(http://blogs.theage.com.au/mediablog/archives/2005/05/when_are_blogge_1.html)

  • Companies appoint bloggers to represent their own interests (this isn’t balanced representation, is it?)

  • Many bloggers rip off other people’s work.


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Blog Sites - a Stage for ‘Accusation Slinging’

  • Blog sites often become the forum for ‘accusation slinging’. Most blog sites do not have editors but this one did.

  • In this article, a women’s group accuses Jack Burkman, one of Washington's political consultants: “Burkman blew his fine-upstanding-Christian rep when he tried to pay cash for two young lesbians to have sex with him.”

  • These allegations were made after Burkman apparently insulted a guest, Rachel Sklar on MSNBC cable news.

  • While this blog site does have an editor, the editor disclaimed at the bottom of the article “Editor’s note, 9/28/06: I have not independently verified this story. As noted above, I am simply recounted it as it appeared on the widely-read Wonkette blog.”

  • If this was a real news agency, abiding by defamation laws, then surely the editor would verify the facts before publishing the story?

    Source: http://www.wimnonline.org/WIMNsVoicesBlog/?p=267


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Case Study

  • In 2005 a California Judge ruled that three bloggers who published leaked information about an Apple product had to reveal their confidential sources.

  • This ruling indicates that the bloggers are not considered real journalists, as they are not protected from any shield laws.

  • “According to court papers the company says the people who run these sites aren't ‘legitimate members of the press’.”

    Source: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2005/tc2005037_7877_tc024.htm


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Other People’s Views on Bloggers…

  • “Professional blogger Lockhart Steele is the managing editor for Gawker Media's portfolio of Web logs. He also runs a quippy New York real estate blog called Curbed.com that solicits reader tips. He made it clear he did not consider himself a journalist. "I don't have time to do the fact-checking you do.””

    Source: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2005/tc2005037_7877_tc024.htm


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Code of Conduct Needed for Bloggers

“Two leading citizens of the Web, Tim O'Reilly and Jimmy Wales, have proposed a "Bloggers Code of Conduct." The reason for this code is the phenomenon of people posting extremely nasty verbal comments about other people on Web sites devoted to political and social commentary.”

  • http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110009929


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  • Blogging is a "solipsistic, self-aggrandizing, journalist-wannabe genre," writes David Shaw in the Los Angeles Times. Shaw, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for his media criticism, declares that bloggers are "practitioners of what is at best pseudo-journalism" and that "many bloggers--not all, perhaps not even most--don't seem to worry much about being accurate." (Emphasis added.)”

  • http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/2005/0523/228.html


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To Conclude

  • Bloggers do not write or act according to journalistic standards and ethics.

  • Bloggers do have a right to freedom of expression but they most definitely shouldn’t be considered journalists and they should keep in mind the duty to write responsibly and respect the reputations of others.

  • Bloggers often ‘rant’ on about a topic that interests them, giving only one point of view.

  • Bloggers often use the web as a forum for slinging accusations at one another.

  • Bloggers are not journalists.


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  • Bloggers have been likened to “ordinary opinion-slingers, like barbers or bartenders, with no special responsibilities - or rights”

    Bloggers have very little credibility and often do not give an accurate, fairly reported account of a story using any true journalistic methods.

    Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0202/p03s02-usju.html


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