In the third chapter his book, Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky says “it’s tempting to regard the bloggers . . . as a new crop of journalists.” Really? It’s not the least bit tempting to me! In fact, I bristle every time the word “journalist” is used to describe a blogger and I nearly choked when he said, “anyone can be a journalist.”
Posting something to the internet, does not a journalist make. As an example, I’m reposting (republishing?) a sample of typical FaceBook status updates from my “Friends” list:
“MY PUPPY AND MY SON AND ME WOKE UP AT 5AM ON A SATURDAY HOW JOYOUS i DIDN’T PLAN FOR THAT! PUPPY DECIDED TO CHEW EVERYTHING INSITE I THINK HE NEEDS MORE SOFT FOOD FOR HIS MISSING TEETH AND TO MAKE HIS FOOD MORE ENITICING! HAHA.”
“Changing yourself as a person will not get you anywhere…atleast not for me wtf.”
“U know, I was watching the middle school football game tonite and I was thinking…what the HELL are they feeding jr high kids these days?!? Some of these boys r bigger than ME, n I ain’t no little guy!!!”
As you can see, most of these people can’t spell and don’t bother using grammar. They waste everyone’s time, including their own, posting the most ordinary and uninteresting details of their lives.
There’s no way that a reasonable person would consider this journalism (or publishing for that matter) under the law. Even the slightest hint that these people would qualify for protection under the shield law is an insult to anyone who is, ever was, or ever will be a journalist.
As far as I’m concerned, a journalist is a journalist and a blogger is a blogger. You can be one or the other, or both – but they are definitely exclusive of one another. Even the verbs that correspond to the nouns are different: journalists get published, bloggers post. Per the Oxford Dictionary:
Publish – v., to prepare and issue (a book, newspaper, etc.) for public sale.
Post – v., make available on the internet.
All of this sounds a little bit like an I.Q. test question:
True or False? If all bloggers are journalists, and all journalists are professionals, then all bloggers must be professionals.