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Do our blogs constitute news coverage?

Posted at 1:59 PM on November 2, 2006 by Bill Wareham (2 Comments)

Over at Polinaut there's a good discussion going on about whether blogs written by our news staff constitute news coverage.

I think the answer is "sometimes, but not always." More specifically, there are times when we're trying to convey news - that is some information about current events. But, for the most part, blog postings aren't news in the same sense of the traditional stories we post online or broadcast on the radio. While we strive for accuracy on the blogs, the information conveyed doesn't usually rely on the same level of research and analysis that we put into a news story.

Our blogs are what a lot of blogs are - spaces for quick observations, aggregation of information (Tom Scheck does a terrific job with his Daily Digest at Polinaut) and as much as anything a point for direct contact with our audience. The fact that this discussion is happening over at Polinaut is very gratifying. It means our audience gives a rip and will engage us in discussion.

(Update) I was looking over the above and realized I should make clear that while it may not be "news" in the strictest sense, what I, Bob Collins, Tom Scheck or any news staffer writes on an MPR blog does represent content from MPR News, not some idle personal opinions for which we aren't trying to take responsibility.

Comments (2)

As the person who started the fight, I would like to say thank you for this post, especially as I believe I am one of the 10 people who read this blog daily.

I am not trying to pick on Bob by any means, but he tends to frustrate me simply by the fact that he, as a journalist, is what many of us bloggers strive to be. He has immediate access to any event, and when he writes a story, or even a blog post, it carries a weight and authority that we bloggers do not get.

I have spent much of the last few months striving to try and get bloggers recognized as a potential legitimate news source - especially those of us who do original reporting and investigative journalism. It's difficult in general, and it involves not just a lot of good research and writing, but a lot of PR as well. To have Bob dismiss blogging as just a conversation and a chance to have fun, rather than admit it can also be a new source to many people, undermines much of the work that I have been doing these last few months.

I think he is a fantastic reporter, and even a potentially good blogger, I just feel that he not only takes his traffic and respect for granted, but that by taking it for granted and playing down its importance, he tends to demean it for bloggers who really just blog.

Of course, I also talk too much, which is one of the reasons, I blog...

Posted by rew | November 2, 2006 9:56 PM


Glad to hear you're a regular here at The News Grid, although I'd wager that 10 daily readers might be high.

I certainly appreciate what you say, not to mention your efforts, at seeking journalistic recognition for blog-generated reporting. Seems to me - and this is my personal opinion - is that there is such a wide range of content available on blogs, including much that doesn't constitute journalism, that the audience isn't always sure what to think.

In a way it's not a lot different than the radio - not everything we put on our MPR News stations is journalism. Garrison Keillor and Car Talk are two of the most obvious exceptions. We can get away with it because we've developed a certain relationship with the audience, I guess. Listeners know that those shows aren't journalism, and accept that.

Within the blogosphere I don't think we've developed the conventions yet that allow the audience to sort out what's journalism from what's not. So someone reads an "opinion" piece on some blog and dismisses the whole delivery medium as incapable of producing journalism.

I think the medium is very capable of producing great journalism, and already has. And I think MPR can be part of that, finding its place as a credible place for news delivered through blogs. We're still working at it though.

So I encourage you to keep fighting the good fight.

Posted by Bill Wareham | November 3, 2006 10:31 AM