—Michael Keliher, Client Relationship Manager at Fast Horse
In many ways, this debate is purely academic. Some talk about the line separating the revered act of journalism from the pedestrian pastime of “just blogging” as if it might simply have some bearing on the way reporters do their jobs in the future. You know, carry a Flip camera and shoot more video and tweet your face off and whatnot. Others talk about how blogging has ushered in a new era of journalism, one in which publication – in ink, airwaves or pixels – is a hell of a lot closer to the beginning of the journalistic process than the end. Phrases like “fractured audiences” and the “myth of objectivity” are thrown around like peanuts at a Twins game, and the discussions can be fascinating. Ultimately, though, they are of little consequence.
The “I know it when I see it” standard for defining journalism is sufficient for most folks, in most cases. As an everyday consumer of information, I hardly care whether the information I’m consuming was dragged out of the darkness by a “traditional journalist” or a “new-media reporter” or a “blogger” or even a “kid with Twitter.” But when the long arm of the law gets involved, such as when journalist shield laws are invoked or when the FTC weighs in on cases involving its endorsement and testimonial guides, squishy pseudo-definitions don’t get us very far.
(If you’re interested in shield laws, read about the lost/stolen iPhone prototype Gizmodo got its hands on or just ask Josh Wolf. Meanwhile, I’m going to blather on about the FTC…)