Thursday, September 30, 2004

Attacking Bloggers

Eskimo over the The Igloo posted in response to Peg's finding in the Minnesota Star Tribune. As a quick review in case you haven't read it, here is the particularly offensive section in the editorial (Though the whole thing has the aroma of dead fish):
Do bloggers have the credentials of real journalists? No. Bloggers are hobby hacks, the Internet version of the sad loners who used to listen to police radios in their bachelor apartments and think they were involved in the world. Bloggers don't know about anything that happened before they sat down to share their every thought with the moon. Like graffiti artists, they tag the public square -- without editors, correction policies or community standards. And so their tripe is often as vicious as it is vacuous.
I looked up the author's e-mail and sent him my thoughts on his comments - polite, as always, but pointing out his inconsistencies and overall rudeness. I've no doubt I'll not hear from him. What I found interesting, now giving it some thought, is while many of us write for pleasure, we also write to an audience. We wouldn't be posting stuff on the world wide web unless we wanted someone to read it, and based on the e-mails we receive, people tune in to read our posts on a daily basis. It is flattering, and definitely adds a certain pressure to perform. So define a journalist....according to my favorite source, the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a journalist is defined as:
Main Entry: jourĀ·nalĀ·ist Pronunciation: -n&l-ist Function: noun 1 a : a person engaged in journalism; especially : a writer or editor for a news medium b : a writer who aims at a mass audience 2 : a person who keeps a journal
Hm. I think in just about any element of blogging, we meet the definition of a journalist. Fear not, I'm not updating my resume with all my blogging experience, but nonetheless, we all write, spend hours doing it, researching, critiquing, examining, and finally publishing our hard-earned efforts. We revel in the compliments, cringe at the derisive remarks, and take pokes at our efforts personally - there is a certain level of ego in this that cannot be denied. So I'm left with this: Nick Coleman (the journalist in question) has probably worked very hard to get where is - I don't question that. I've yet to meet a lazy journalist who still had a job. I don't pretend to have the experience or the knowledge that he does about the world he lives in and reports on. But my writing is no less thought-out, examined, emoted, or valued than his - not in the personal sense, anyway. It means just as much to me as his work does to him. In fact, the only major difference is that I don't get paid for my work - he does. So his slanderous remarks are sad - he truly does not understand that there is a whole world out there of passionate writers who would love to be recognized the way he is, but for one reason or another, we aren't. Rather than deride us, you would think he would use us as a source, an audience, an interest - hell, even a story. There's got to be something very odd about people who spend hours researching and writing - with little to no financial benefit.