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Blogging: Journalism's Amateur Hour?

Nicholas Lehmann’s Amateur Hour is a rigorous dissection of the blogging versus journalism debate.  Published in the New Yorker, it’s a deep and serious examination of the blogging phenomenon.  Lehmann observes that blogging “conflates several distinct categories of material that are widely available online and didn’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 media—everything from Chilean newspaper stories and entries in German encyclopedias to papers presented at Micronesian conferences on accounting methods—which one can find instantly on search and aggregation sites.“ 

Throughout the piece, Lehmann makes the case that most blogging isn’t journalism.  I agree, although there are definite exceptions like Om Malik’s GigaOm, and Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch, which are news oriented sites. 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.  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?  And will it, over time, mature into many categories and styles, as journalism ultimately did?

Worth a read.


{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Jason Drohn August 1, 2006, 7:06 pm

    Lehmann makes a very good and valid point in the article, as well as a number of authors who have taken this point up. However, one must keep in mind that the web is searchable to people who use it proficiently. I can find anything on here, as I am sure you can Alec; but most people can not. I am a pretty avid domainer, and the way I look at it is that when people type in a keyword into the url bar, they want to find content relating to that keyword. All my parked sites do is redirect them to where they want to go.

    ~92% of the people in the world are on the web at their job, at home, etc. There are an incredible number of people who underutilize it. A lot of bloggers take things that interest them and repost the content or comment on it, making the information available to a wider, more specific audience. It is much like a ripple in a pond. You throw one rock, the ripples get only so far. You throw a handful of rocks, there are more ripples in different areas causing the impact to be more widespread.

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