Blogs are not journalism. Jarret McNeill, one of the bloggers over at Maisonneuve has taken a crack at the question that seems to be preoccupying half the bloggers out there (and all the political bloggers); is blogging journalism? MacNeill says no.
Jason Kottke ought to be notified. Jason seems to be of the opinion that any change in the way we communicate, no matter how minor a change (or how little it actually conflicts with or circumvents existing forms of communication) is revolutionary.
Blogging is not a revolution, but it is a fucking megaphone that enables conversation between the gilded towers of the media elite and we, the tiny people. If blogging serves any function within the framework of journalism it is to remind the big boys, from time to time, when they neglect a story that either deserves attention or, for whatever reason, has caught the attention of a mass of people. We are a check of sorts, and only in specific instances.
No one will ever, despite the popular hemming and hawing to the contrary, replace the New York Times or Washington Post, or any other respected and objective news source, in the services they provide for the simple fact that those institutions have funding and resources no single blog, or even a unified voice of blogs, could ever provide. Reporting will never go out of fashion. Reporting will never be unnecessary. And reporting can only be provided by organizations that have the means, the will power, and the resources to provide it. As the commercial says, “I like the way the New York Times surrounds a story.”
Which is not to say that these powerhouses are infallible, or even cool (whatever that is, and whatever that’s worth), because they certainly are not. Blogs can be occasional reminders of that, but never through a single site, and only through an amplitude of voices. It’s a checks and balances thing, on a microscopic level.
I think blogs can help spread some good ideas, and I think that many blogs are home to some excellent writing. But yeah, definitely neither journalism nor a revolution. There is no digital equivelant of Che Guevara.