Yes. A resounding yes.
When blogs started to become popular, back in whatever whatever year that was, “real” reporters bemoaned the fact that an every day Jill or Joe who didn’t go to school for journalism and didn’t know how to cite references correctly could be an “expert” on something. Whether or not they were “experts” was mostly irrelevant as they had a blog and with the help of Google and such, people could search and find said blog and utilize whatever nugget of wisdom and truth they found. Regardless of whether it was wisdom or truth or any shade thereof.
But what does it mean to be an expert any way? Some would argue going to lots and lots of educational institutions. Some say not going to any educational institution except the School of Hard Knocks. In news reporting, you want witnesses and you want corrobation (a word, by the way, that is very difficult for me to say out loud and will preclude me from ever being a reporter on tv or radio… but yea bloggers!).
These days, every news outlet there is has a blog or eighty. Everyone and their crazy Aunt Sue with the miniature schnauzer collection has a blog. And we refer to them as gospel truth (lower case g) and that selfsame reporter who thought blogs were the demise of civilized society (read: elite society) is now interviewing dear Aunt Sue and Pip the puppy who poops at 5pm. Stay tuned.
The rules of journalism, as far as I’m aware, have not changed one iota. What has changed is our collective adherence to them. I am amazed at what passes for news items in any and all mediums at this point. I am equally amazed at what I “learn” from Facebook, even through news outlets who have some intern “studying” social media at CNU posting tweets about what plastic crap is on sale at Walmart or where they went for dinner.
And then there are the Commenters. The people who feel they have something to contribute to the discussion or want to make fun of someone or just forgot to pay their be nice tax. I have a feeling that these people are also keeping Wendy’s open late and the Kardashians on the front pages of something I don’t ever read.
My hope in this decade is two-fold. First that bloggers will man up and admit that they aren’t reporters and they are simply overtly exhibitionistic self-absorbed propagators of extreme introspection and self aggrandizing commentary on anything and everything around them.
And secondly that someone will pay me to continue to be so.