Blogger vs. Journalist

This last week CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, spoke to the American Society of News Editors about the future of newspapers and he believes that they can make money together. Was he just pandering to the crowd or did have have some big ideas that Google is working on to help traditional media rise to the surface above the noise of bloggers everywhere? It may have been both for all I know, but I suspect the recent news about the demise of newspapers and the complaints from people like Ruppert Murdoch have indicated that there is a significant issue.

The NPR story above really spells out the issue. The death of news on printed paper isn't the end of the world. The bigger issue is the demise of the newsroom. Consider the New York Times Policy on Ethics in Journalism. It is guidelines like this that separate bloggers from journalists. There are bloggers that pride themselves on being held to the same standard as a journalist. Some of the larger organizations like Gawker or Weblogs Inc. (now AOL) have editorial resources that are supposed to ensure that their standards for blogging are better than someone like me. Perhaps those larger organizations have a policy available to the general public, but I didn't see it. 

The quotes that were made by Eric Schmidt sent waves through the blogosphere and other social media outlets. Many taking exception to the following quote during his speech.

"There is an art to what you do," he said to the real journalists. "And if you're ever confused as to the value of newspaper editors, look at the blog world. That's all you need to see. So we understand how fundamental tradition and the things you care about are." – via Read Write Web

I wish bloggers would use a little more common sense than calling all of the villagers to bring pitch forks and torches. Anyone that spends a decent amount of time on the web will easily attest to the fact that bloggers are not reliable news sources and are not held to the same standards of reporting that we have come to expect from traditional journalists. That isn't to say that the entire blogging community is worthless and I don't believe that is what Schmidt is referring to here. Surely he is excluding sites like Huffington Post or The Daily Caller or True/Slant. One thing that I have found in the blogs I follow is a lack of standards when it comes to being a journalist vs a hard headed but good writer. They aren't the same thing and I suspect as blogs continue to fail in painting the "big picture" accurately people will realize that true reporting is handled best by professionals that are dedicated to preserving a higher standard. 

Blogs should exist and provide a great micro story in many cases. Journalist are increasingly pressured to get stories prepared faster and apparently with less fact checking. I hope that this trend stops and editors will strive for excellence but not for the sake of the reporting.My hope is that bloggers will stop the arrogant attitude and realize that they are not being held to the same standards as journalists and until they are they shouldn't expect people, organizations or companies to cow tow to their every desire. By the same token journalists will hopefully accept the fact they are going to get "scooped" by bloggers but that they still serve a purpose in collecting information for the "big picture". This isn't a case of one is better than the other but rather a peaceful coexistence will benefit both in the long run.

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