Friday, June 02, 2006

Blogs and Newspapers

Patrick Williams, managing editor of the Dallas Observer, quoted in a story about blogs, defended the honor of newspapers:
"If I were the king of journalism, I'd force newspapers to stop publishing for a month," Williams said. "Then let's see what would happen to blogs."

Williams seems blissfully unaware that the marketplace is in the process of forcing newspapers to stop publishing. Bloggers often use news stories as springboards for their opinions, but those stories aren't a necessity, they're a convenience.

Williams then said:
"Facts have to be the basis of opinion at some point. And if a blogger is collecting facts, then at what point does the publication cease being a blog and become an Internet news site?"

A blog doesn't necessarily need to contain any opinion. A post can be nothing more than a collection of facts. That's up to the blogger. And it's a non sequiter to claim that an opinion must be based on facts.

Williams unintentionally raises the issue of whether many supposed news articles are in fact blog posts--at least according to his definition. Objectivity in journalism doesn't exist and it never did.

When a reporter writes a slanted story combining facts with half-hidden personal opinions, at what point does it cease being a news article and has crossed over the line into blog territory?

That question could be raised about many stories published in the news sections of newspapers across the country.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Dallas Observer? That's amazing. Unless it has changed in the last 10 years, it's basically a blog in print. The only thing that really makes it different is when it was formed the technology wasn't available. (http://www.dallasobserver.com)