What is Real Journalism?

With the boom of news blogs and alternative media outlets over the past ten or so years, a question may have arisen in the public. Is what they see on these sites still considered, “real journalism”?

Journalism is defined as the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media. And that, is exactly what these new mediums do. News bloggers generally do fit within this definition; they gather the news, examine their research and report on what they have found. (Sometimes they even do original reporting, just like a good old fashioned newspaper or news station). And if that’s not enough support as a blog being considered a news source, the Associated Press issued an amendment to its members insisting that blogs be considered a news source in their sourcing in 2010.

So why do certain people continue to struggle with the idea of a blog being considered a credible news source? In 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said the shield law should only apply to real journalists. This was at the time of the Wikileaks explosion of NSA files, and Feinstein notably wanted bloggers to be excluded from the classification of real journalists, and to be able to press charges against them for releasing these files. She is not the only one who believes so either.

Blogger Joe Wilcox of “Oddly Together” writes of the large differences between blogging and journalism in a post titled, “The Difference Between Blogging and Journalism,” yet Wilcox defines what is a journalist to him. “Bloggers who don’t apply good standards of journalism shouldn’t be offered the same privileges as journalists,” Wilcox said. “Similarly, journalists who fail to apply the same good standards should be stripped of privileges and prestige.”

And this is what makes the most sense to me. Not everyone who blogs is a journalist. There are amateurs out there in the blogosphere who don’t follow any kind of journalistic morals or ethics and who do not report actual, factual news, but there are also reporters who do the same. It shouldn’t be a debate of “real journalism,” but “real journalists” instead.

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