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100 articles – ‘Blog off, you still need journalism’

Much as been said about the relationship between blogging and journalism. But as James Briggs argues in this selection for our 100 articles project, few have said it quite as well as Jason Whittaker, who has recently been appointed the Deputy Editor of Crikey.

Blog Off, You Still Need Journalism by Jason Whittaker

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for blogging to be used as a synonym for reporting. After all, who’s to say that the John Smith who blogs from his basement about the shortcomings of Kevin Rudd isn’t as legitimate as John Smith from The Age who initially covers the story? Jason Whittaker, for one, and I second him.

Whittaker, ironically writing in a blog, explains what he sees as the crucial difference between blogging and journalism. It comes down to actually reporting the news. The journalists working in newsrooms are the ones who pain-stakingingly fact-check the nitty-gritty of each and every thing written and burn the midnight oil to get the article in by the 7 AM deadline.

Then along comes the blogger who wants to have his two cents on the matter. Whittaker asks ‘are they applying the same journalistic principles which… avoid potentially damaging inaccuracies… and report free of personal prejudice?’ and that’s also something that I need to know.

Whittaker’s piece is essential reading for all journalists, as blogging has become so ubiquitous. Blogging has given a voice to everyone, and while this is great for democracy, I view blogs in the same way I view op-ed pieces. They’re interesting and often present a unique viewpoint, but are they accurate? Until bloggers are held accountable to the same standards that traditional journalists are, I will continue to get my news from verifiable media outlets.

 James Briggs is a Journalism Honours student at La Trobe University.

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