I believe that there is an innate problem with blogs – there is no journalistic integrity. It’s ironic that I write this on my blog. However, I make no claim to be a journalist, other than for photos that I submit for publication, i.e. photojournalism. What I write on my blog is purely editorial. I may attach references to news articles or journals to support my editorial point of view, but it would be a mistake for anyone reading this blog to consider it to be a news story that can be repeated in other media. I try to be factual in my posts; but as already stated, I see my blog as an outlet for artistic and editorial expression.
Unfortunately, many bloggers confuse their posts as factually correct. And worse, newspapers often pick up the blog post and publish the story without fact checking. Once the paper publishes the story, the blog then repeats it with the paper as its source. All of a sudden, its real.
When I began my career and was interviewed by reporters, they were extremely careful to get facts correctly. Many publications had independent fact checkers who would call back to be sure they got the story correct. Today, the print and television/radio media, are often competing with blogs to get the news out first. Fact checking goes out the window. Writing catchy headlines is more important than reporting accurately. The result is that stories are often reported inaccurately, because speed of publication and who can take credit prevails. That’s not to say all journalists report this way. In fact, most of those whom I have maintained a relationship with are painstaking in getting their stories right, protecting their sources, and only dealing with reliable and credible sources. They insist on reporting with integrity.
There is a legitimate place for bloggers. Writing as an expert on a specific topic, expressing oneself, and even reporting the news are all appropriate. The difference should be clear to blog readers and followers, however, when they click on the page.
© 2013 James Stuckey