Monday, November 28, 2005

So, is Orakel a journo?

Now that Oranje Orakel has taken the HUGE step to have his own Rugby Union blog- does it means that he is a journalist?

Before the entity posting as OO tries to clarify that question- let us first delve into minds that may add more value at this point in time.

I have read the following article when it was first published on News24, so courtesy of them, enjoy.


Is a blogger a journalist?
01/09/2005 09:09 - (SA)

By Lizette Rabe

"Blogging means everyone with a computer and a dial-up connection can now be a journalist." "Blogging is reinventing journalism." "Blogging is postmodern reporting." "Bloggers are citizen reporters."

These are just some of the statements about weblogging and journalism. But what does blogging have in common with journalism? Why is it compared to journalism? Maybe confused with journalism?

The first question of course is what is blogging? It's such a new phenomenon that a printed dictionary of media and communication, updated in 2003, doesn't even have the word - while "blog" was declared word of the year for 2004. This of course emphasises just how fast the e-roller-coaster is.

Of course even the simple question of "what is blogging" can be answered on different levels. From an intricate technological explanation right to a somewhat fuzzy postmodern take on the here and now of homo sapiens in the 21st century.

But let's try and stick to a concrete understanding of the phenomenon.

Weblogging - derived from the words web and log(book), blogging for short - is a brand new way of communicating. Thanks to ICT, it is taking the world of communication to a new level. Although, according to one analyst, it is not so new: the first blogger was the first person to create a website way back in 1992.

What's a blog?

A simple definition is that it is a diary, journal or website produced by an individual or a group; it is frequently updated; written in a personal tone, on topics ranging from an account of daily family life to political statements, promotional information or just commentary on issues in the mainstream media.

In an attempt to stay focused, as this topic has the natural tendency to navigate itself into all kinds of hyperlinks: can blogging be equated to journalism? Is a blogger a journalist?

Certainly journalists can be bloggers. Even - especially - student-journalists are already, like, seriaas bloggers, man.

But are all bloggers journalists?

Many positive characteristics can be distilled from blogging. One of the debates is whether blogging is a new form of journalism. Indeed, many an oh so serious conference, where sometimes indecent amounts of intellectual masturbation take place, keep themselves busy with the question. And trizillions of megabytes - no, gigabytes - have already been written on the topic.

If you unpack the phenomenon, blogging belongs to the wide discipline of communication within the field of media and cultural studies. But just as advertising, PR and corporate communication belong to the field, but cannot be equated to journalism, blogging cannot be synonymous with the j-word.

The blogging facts

Some facts: according to one source, 3 000 new blogs are created every new day. And we all know about statistics: they usually only show the tip of the iceberg - or be it the blog-berg. Fact is, one source says in the time it has taken you to read half of this sentence, a dozen more blogs have been created.

Chances are if you google something, that the first number of references will take you to blogs.

In a sense one can simply describe blogging as an electronic diary made public thanks to the phenomenal reach of ICT. It is out there in the public sphere, accessible in the virtual realm of the web and the internet.

If the web is described as a "giant expanding database linking documents" and the internet a "worldwide network of interlinked computer systems to exchange digital information", then a blogger is someone contributing yet another document to the web, to be consumed by those who can access the network. Unfortunately, mostly the urban elites of the world.

According to one source about one billion people in total can currently access the internet. In South Africa, only five per cent of the adult population has internet access.

A stumbling block is the cost of telephony. On average local costs are 400% higher than in the rest of the world. But that's not our topic. Although of course, you can always start your own hellcom-blog on monopolies.

Is blogging journalism?

But the question remains: is blogging journalism?

Not if we stick to the traditional definition of journalism of being fair, accurate, balanced, independent. But then, a communication expert declared "we have reached the end of journalism as we know it".

In many cases, hopefully not. But maybe one of the best things about blogging is that instead of reporting from "Washington and Westminster" (or, for us, Pretoria and Parliament) in a top-down fashion, it is now bottom-up. "Collaborative citizen journalists" are airing opinion; tearing down the traditional borders of communication, politics, even nation-states.

It adds to freedom of expression, one of the important elements that make a democracy a democracy. So many new - unfiltered - voices. Previously, the journalist would go to eyewitnesses and retell their stories. Now the eyewitnesses tell their own stories.

Which is the point. It is their story. Their attempt to "make meaning". Which is not journalism. Journalism must have different takes on a story; it goes through a process of verification, it has to measure up to professional standards.

Is blogging a new way of alternative journalism? Citizen-reporting? Or self-gratifying exhibitionism? A vanity thing?

Is it on-line journalism? Or e-diaries?

You decide.


So I will at least try to be a seriaaaas blogger- and to be objective- I can promise you now "Potlood met die Oranje Lood" will not be objective.

I will try to be " being fair, accurate, balanced, independent" and so on and so on......never relying to much on the single source story..... ;-0

I will post other pieces on Blogging in general as well- ditto "pod-casting", potgooi in my lingo.

So feel free to debate and to add value.

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