Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"Bloggerists" and Related Matters

Lots of blogging talk today. The topic is on my mind for reasons I’ll talk about later. Now is the time for those of you who find bloggers writing about blogging annoying to amscray.

Recently, during his experience covering the kickoff of Mark Kennedy on the campaign trail, The First Ringer coined the term “bloggerist” to reflect the fact that bloggers doing original reporting don’t quite behave the same as traditional journalists. It's an interesting observation, and I don't quite know where it will lead. The only safe bet is to cop out with an answer like, "it will lead to something new."

But one of the funny things I'm discovering in my own "bloggerist" adventures so far is how these "new" places aren't really breaking new ground in the basics of reporting. Heck, I freely admit I'm learning that as I go along. Craig Westover offers some terrific observations and advice on the topic, and I take it quite seriously.

But we are doing strange things in terms of story selection. We're covering things in detail - sometimes amazing detail - that traditional media sources entirely ignore. And I think the reason why is simple. We approach this stuff from the perspective of a reader. Why? Because we typically think of ourselves as readers first. With few exceptions, bloggers don't make their living by writing. The energy we pour into our blogs previously went into reading the newspaper, or magazines, or books. And most bloggers remain voracious readers.

I know from my own experience that the reason I put time and effort into getting interviews is because I got tired of waiting for someone else to do it. If I wanted to read intereviews of particular people that interested me, the only way to get them was to do them myself. Increasingly I'm finding the same about reporting basic news stories (the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press not even giving John Kline's endorsement of Mark Kennedy a single line of coverage for weeks - something I noted within minutes of it happening at TBFKADVK - hit me as a particularly eye opening moment).

And that leads to one of the most amusing and puzzling disconnects between threatened traditional journalists and the rising blogosphere. The thing many trads are missing is that bloggers generally have no intention of "replacing" traditional journalism. By and large we're frustrated readers who couldn't find anyone writing what we wanted to read.

It started with simple editorializing and commentary. But despite premature conclusions, it's not ending there. And why should it?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the bloggers have gone back to a time where a journalist actually dug into a story and uncovered facts that you/we the reader would be interested in. Today it seems the MSM are writing to an audience that does not read their work. Siting a poll is not journalism...

10:41 PM  

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