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May 11, 2005 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Gawker bucks vs journalists' bucks. The idea of bloggers going pro, though a relatively new one, has been discussed for a few years now. With blogging being discussed in the same breath as mainstream journalism, especially since last year's election in which the two activities seemed to clash in a very public way, is it time to ask ourselves if blogging is or can be just another form of journalism with its own professional personalities and success-based pay rates?
posted by clevershark (13 comments total)

 
Anything that will encourage the use of comprehensible English is desirable. When, precisely, did it go out of fashion?
posted by Lizi at 4:14 PM on May 11, 2005


I'm inclined to agree with Blankenhorn; journalists can be bloggers but not all blogs are (nor are they intended to be) journalism. The dangerous grey area for me is the bloggers who pretend to be journalists (e.g., Guckert). The sheer volume and accessibility of "text" on the web sometimes makes it harder to sort out the validity and accuracy of claims and evidence. Less ethical blogournalists resort to emotion and invective.

I still rely on the morning friendly as a filter to the many things I read online. I have no problem with blogolumnists making money based on their personality and performance, but I am troubled by the phrase "another form of journalism with its own professional personalities." I feel that journalism as it is used here is confused with opinion/editorial which, although it appears in newspapers and blogs, is NOT journalism. Creative nonfiction, si, journalism, no.
posted by beelzbubba at 4:18 PM on May 11, 2005


Well, the whole Gawker empire is messed up, paywise, i think...they get paid per hits, but have no say about advertising or anything--it doesn't make sense.
posted by amberglow at 4:35 PM on May 11, 2005


Since when does journalism have "success-based pay rates"?
posted by docgonzo at 4:54 PM on May 11, 2005


I feel that journalism as it is used here is confused with opinion/editorial which, although it appears in newspapers and blogs, is NOT journalism. Creative nonfiction, si, journalism, no.

you took the words out of my mouth.

also, it's quite telling that all but one link in the FPP are to blogs. this discussion is mostly in bloggers' heads methinks.
posted by mr.marx at 4:58 PM on May 11, 2005


docgonzo writes " Since when does journalism have 'success-based pay rates'?"

Well, the big names always make more than the unknowns... and generally big names are big because they at least have had success in the past, if not continued success into the present.
posted by clevershark at 5:08 PM on May 11, 2005


How do you measure success?
posted by docgonzo at 5:15 PM on May 11, 2005


this discussion is mostly in bloggers' heads methinks.

Hallelujah and amen to that. The "serious" blogosphere has become the loudest echo chamber the world has ever seen. Journalist-wannabe bloggers seem completely unaware that 99.9% of the world's population, if confronted with the word "blog", would imagine it to be describing a particularly difficult bowel movement.

If you want to be a journalist, go out and be a journalist. Interview people. Research in the real world. Race to the scene of the crime and talk to eye witnesses. Apply for a pass to the press gallery. But quit putting so much stock in the fact that your articles appear backwards on a web page and demanding an income for that simple innovation.

How do you measure success?

BJ's week -1
posted by Jimbob at 6:58 PM on May 11, 2005


99.9% of the world's population, if confronted with the word "blog", would imagine it to be describing a particularly difficult bowel movement.

I love you.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:22 PM on May 11, 2005


99.9% of the world's population, if confronted with the word "blog", would imagine it to be describing a particularly difficult bowel movement.

Which study is this from?
posted by ArunK at 8:53 PM on May 11, 2005


Which study is this from?

Give or take a decimal point.

You believe more than a few million people worldwide rely on weblogs for their news? I thought my estimate was probably quite conservative, actually. Not a single "real life" person I know has ever had any conversation with me regarding weblogs. And I work among intelligent people at a university in a 1st world country, each with a PC on their desk. All the time, people discuss something on the TV news last night, something they read in a newspaper or magazine, something they heard on the radio.

Not once has anyone said to me "Hey, did you see that post on BoingBoing yesterday?".

I'm a sample of one, I know, but in reality weblogs are still so far below the radar of most people in western countries, let alone people in general, that they're not worth mentioning in terms of a news market.

Weblogs-as-journalism advocates, however, appear to live in a totally insular world, unaware of how most of the population actually interacts with the media. My next door neighbour doesn't know about the revolution, and I doubt she'd be dreadfully impressed.
posted by Jimbob at 9:12 PM on May 11, 2005


To echo and expand on a previous comment: Whether one is a Journalist (by the commonly accepted usage of the term) depends not on the media in which one presents one's writing, but the process by which one creates that writing -- i.e., by doing journalism or (as is the case with the majority of bloggers) pulling opinions out of one's ass.

For example, Josh Marshall regularly does journalism in Talking Points Memo, by investigating, sourcing and confirming information before writing it up; it's not at all a stretch to say he's a working journalist, whose primary outlet is a blog (and since he's apparently making money from his blog, he's also a professional journalist). Meanwhile, over at my personal site, I'm usually pulling an opinion out of my ass. I'm emphatically not engaging in journalism, and if someone were to suggest that I were, I'd suggest they get their terms straight.

By the same token, when I worked at a newspaper as a film critic and humor columnist, most of what I was doing there I wouldn't have classified as traditional journalism, either; my job was to give opinions, in the form of reviews or commentary, rather than to gather news and confirm facts. I did some light journalism, mind you (for example, when I reported on the Oscars or on film grosses, or did interviews with filmmakers), but it wasn't the main thrust of my gig. Once again, the media in which journalism happens is immaterial; snide remarks about articles appearing backwards aside, there's no reason journalism can't happen in blog form.

I'm not entirely sure why bloggers getting paid is still an topic of conversation, incidentally; enough of us do it now and have been doing it for some time (going on two years for me, for example) that it should be non-controversial at this point. It does strike me that blogging pay scales are relatively low relative to journalism (that's base pay and leaving out nice perks like 401(k)s and health insurance), but on the other hand, most paid bloggers seem to be doing it in addition to doing something else; I certainly don't expect it to be my sole source of income.

Since most paid bloggers aren't doing journalism (or are doing a relatively light version of it), I don't think comparing blogger payment to full-time journalist payment is relevant; better to compare the payment of bloggers to the pay of other general freelancers. In that regard, from what I can see (and speaking from personal experience), blog payment is pretty competitive, although that goes with understanding that most freelancers get paid, well, poorly for the privilege of writing instead of asking people if they want fries with that.

On preview:

"Not once has anyone said to me 'Hey, did you see that post on BoingBoing yesterday?'."

Since we're speaking anecdotally, I'm far more likely to hear someone utter that sentence than "Hey, did you see that article in The New Republic yesterday?" Certainly blogs fall under the radar of most people, but then so do many of the political magazines whose influence far outweighs their subscriber rolls. Some kid in Belgium might not know about Boing Boing, but it's reasonably good money that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs do -- and in terms of influence, which is more important?
posted by jscalzi at 9:22 PM on May 11, 2005


No I don't believe people rely on weblogs for their news.
posted by ArunK at 1:14 PM on May 12, 2005


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