Lord of the BlogsParker has a point.
Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel
Dec. 28, 2005
"Of all the stories leading America's annual greatest hits list, the one that subsumes the rest is the continuing evolution of information in the Age of Blogging.
"Not since the birth of the printing press have our lives been so dramatically affected by the way we create and consume information -- both to our enormous benefit and, perhaps, to our growing peril.
"What is wonderful and miraculous about the Internet needs little elaboration. We all marvel at the ease with which we can access information -- whether reading government documents previously available only to a few, or tracking down old friends and new enemies.
"It is this latter -- our new enemies -- that interests me most. I don't mean al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden, but the less visible, insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility -- the angry offspring of narcissism's quickie marriage to instant gratification..."
- READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE -
Blogs should never be mistaken for being true journalism. Blogging is blogging. Reporting is reporting. Sometimes they travel together hand-in-hand along the information highway, other times they refuse to play together and need to be separated.
As a current blogger, I'll be the first one to say that the Zenformation Professional is not a news source. I like to think of it as a "personaprofessional" space. I'd like to think I add something to the human experience through this homestead on the World Wide Web.
However, as a former journalist, I'll be the first to admit that the Blogosphere offers as just many opportunities for perpetuating rumors, myths, gossip, and slander as it offers opportunities for sharing information.
Simply put, blogs are not - and should not - ever be mistaken for the front page of a newspaper. Instead, the blog universe exists more as one giantic, unedited, unfiltered Op/Ed page.
Posting to a blog does not make one a reporter, no matter how much gossip they receive, no matter how much they read or watch.
If you're a blogger reading this, and somehow are under the impression that because you blog you are therefore a "citizen journalist," you probably have no clue as to what a working journalist actually does. Let me give you a very brief crash course:
The journalist's world is comprised of more than just sources of information. There's a team of folks behind every story you read or watch, from coverage of the local high school basketball tournament to the two-minute network packs shipped into your homes just in time for the nightly news.
There are reporters and editors, readers and producers, production staff, paginators, engineers, photographers, and graphic designers.
Being a reporter - actually covering events - requires a lot of grueling footwork, fact-finding, fact-checking, confirmation of information, double-checking sources, triple-checking sources, weeding out of false leads, writing, editing, printing, taping, fighting, teamwork, compromise, gatekeeping...
I could go on for about 20 lines but I'll stop there.
What a news consumer sees, reads, or hears, the final product, reflects only about five percent of the total work involved in putting together a legitimate news source.
Bloggers, for the most part, aren't trained journalists. Journalism requires a dedication to presenting an edited collection of truthful facts. When there is an error, there is the possibility of being charged with libel, the possibility of making a career-ending mistake, the possibility of crossing an ethical line that lands one in some serious hot water.
Journalism is a profession. To paraphrase that wonderful Stan Lee creation, with great power comes great responsibility. It is with that in mind that the drafters of the Bill of Rights included a clause establishing the concept of freedom of the press.
Blogging is not a profession. It is, for the most part, a free-for-all of ideas. While journalism serves as a clearinghouse of humanity's knowledge, the Blogworld serves as its discount swap meet. Every human being on the planet has an opinion about something.
Blogs simply offer humanity a chance to share its intellectual wares unburdened by concepts like ethics, responsibility, and profession. Sometimes that's a good thing; other times, the results can be almost appalling. Blogs work a lot like conversations.
Blogging is nowhere near, as some futurists have predicted, being some form of new journalism or a way for every armchair quarterback to play Edward R. Murrow. Instead, blogs offer a chance for people to share ideas across geographical, regional, social, and political boundaries.
Both the Blogosphere and journalism have their respective places in the modern world. Sometimes those places share a common property line; the dessimination of facts has been known to produce thoughts since the dawn of civilization.
The pair are sometimes companions but they are never the same thing.
Dec. 29 2005, 6:32 PM PST
A few folks out there in Cyberspace may want to interpret my agreement with Kathleen Parker - a noted Op/Ed syndicated columnist as well as a commentator for the Rightist TownHall.Com (a noted conservative blog) - as being a blanket endorsement of her political leanings.
I assure you, that is definitely not the case. An editor of mine once had this sign above his desk that read, Reading only one side of things succeeds only in giving the world another one-sided idiot. I'm a firm believer in that principle.
There is plenty of room for a wide array of opinions and ideas beyond and within Right or Left labels. Regardless of political leanings, Parker is still one of the United States' most respected columnists, as are Molly Ivins, Cal Thomas, and Thomas Friedman. While I cannot say I agree with or endorse many of the ideas presented in her column, I do respect Parker as a writer and social critic.
The Zenformation Professional