Ever heard of the blogging journalist who denied being a blogger?
Just as I published my last post I realised that I'd made the monumental mistake of making a statement about what blogging IS in the headline (hence the correction). From experience I know that can be dangerous stuff as people have all sorts of very personal takes on what blogging is and isn't.
Of course, technically speaking, a blog is just a publishing platform which can be used for all sorts of different purposes, but Christopher Allbritton, a freelance journalist who pens the popular Back to Iraq blog, has gone to the somewhat controversial step of denying on his blog (via Martin Stabe) that writing a blog makes him a blogger.
The background? In response to Michael Skube's recent attack on the blogsophere, Jay Rosen compiled a list of examples of bloggers doing journalism which included Allbritton. Now, I understand why Allbritton felt it pertinent to point out that using his blog as an example of what many would dub 'citizen journalism' is misleading, but Allbritton goes much further than that:
"I am a journalist who chose to blog to make a career move. I am still a journalist, proudly embedded in the so-called mainstream media, which generates about 99.9999% of the original reporting today... So at the risk of sounding elitist, just because I have a blog doesn’t mean I’m in your club — or you in mine."
This has sparked a few interesting conversations. Mindy McAdams asks: “If you add up every word in one day’s newspaper, how many of them are journalism?" A very timely question in view of the recent Norwegian debate about whether or not online journalism is built on theft, shamelessly republishing other people's work under the site's own bylines (link in Norwegian, will try to blog more about this particular discussion over the wknd).
Another interesting debate has flared up over at Poynter's, partly about whether journalism is a higher calling than blogging (I can vividly imagine that a blogger who spends all his free hours blogging about his greatest passion, with no other motivation than love and public spirit, might find that statement a bit rich).
For the record: I am both a blogger and a journalist, or a blogging journalist if you like. In either case, those are two very different kind of roles - yet they feed and inform each other.