Nicholas Lehmann’s Amateur Hour is a rigorous dissection of the blogging versus journalism debate.Â Published in the New Yorker, it’s a deep and serious examination of the blogging phenomenon.Â Lehmann observes that blogging “conflates several distinct categories of material that are widely available online and didnâ€™t use to be. One is pure opinion, especially political opinion, which the Internet has made infinitely easy to purvey. Another is information originally published in other mediaâ€”everything from Chilean newspaper stories and entries in German encyclopedias to papers presented at Micronesian conferences on accounting methodsâ€”which one can find instantly on search and aggregation sites.“Â
Throughout the piece,Â Lehmann makes the case that most blogging isn’t journalism.Â I agree, although there are definite exceptions likeÂ Om Malik’s GigaOm, and Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch,Â which areÂ news oriented sites.Â I’ve often compared what I do on this blog to what the pamphleteers of another age did in their time; a comparison which Lehmann also makes.Â Lehmann also compares the many very local blogs, and personal sites to old style church and community newsletters.
Is blogging creating new content, or just a new medium for content?Â And will it, over time, mature into many categories and styles, as journalism ultimately did?
Worth a read.