Sunday, March 20, 2005

Bloggers vs Journalists and what I am reading

"A craft's essential skills
Not everyone who simply gathers information and disseminates it can be called a journalist. The craft requires skill in finding story ideas and facts, cultivating sources, and then presenting news in a way that serves the public interest. It requires specific talents for research, interviews, and distillation of information; sifting rant from reality; and then presenting it with clarity, accuracy, speed, and relevance. In giving access to a reporter, newsmakers must be mindful of those essential skills.
This explosion of blog "news" puts more raw information before consumers, unfiltered by the clergy of the established media, who are losing their captured flock. This Protestant Reformation of news lets consumers more easily pick news sources more widely, but often without knowing who's credible.
Among traditional journalists, the checks and balances of editing generally produce credible news. Many bloggers, however, are directly accountable to no one. They may not always abide by basic rules of journalism. They often have no experienced editor questioning their reasoning and sourcing. Perhaps a new brand of bloggers will emerge who commit themselves to a code of standards, helped along by newsmakers who screen them carefully."
March 18 Christian Science Monitor

The above puts paid to the argument that bloggers are de facto journalists. They aren't. I happen to be a professional journalist, and I know the difference. It irks me that there are so many hobby writers out there doing online journals and assuming that by just typing anything onto a web page, they're suddenly transformed into journalists. It's absurd and ridiculous for them to think so, IMHO. There's a craft to journalism and to writing professionally, and that is something most bloggers don't recognize.
I've been working at the craft of writing for over 22 years, and I still learn and hone my skills each year via books, workshops, etc. Journalism and writing aren't just something you do the moment you pick up a pen or put your fingers on a keyboard. Skill, talent and hard work are required.
I am currently reading "A Sundial in the Grave, 1610" by Mary Gentle, the second ARC I've gotten from Harper Collins First Reader Program. It was rather slow going at first, even knowing the history of the era as I do. Finally, by page 100, things began to get interesting. Now, however, there has been a great deal too much angst and turmoil with the main male character being humiliated and debased by the main female character, and finding that he likes it. So he rambles on and on about how horrible he is and how disgusted she should be, until she admits she enjoys debasing him. A perfect S&M relationship. I find it odd that Gentle should use this particular mileau to express such a relationship, considering that she has her characters using the F word and other expressions that I am fairly certain were not commonly used in 1610 in France and England. But, I am hoping things will eventually even out, and there won't be so many more ridiculous moments of the main female character beating the daylights out of the male character just because she can.
I hope to finish the book before the end of the week.

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