In recent months I have had a number of online encounters with persons who describe themselves as ‘journalists’. One particular ‘journalist’, took umbrage to a previous post I had written on my own blog where I had challenged the notion that writing blogs or contributing online counted as journalism. I do not believe it does and because I refused to concede this point , this ‘journalist’ bizarrely accused me of not caring about the working class and further went on to say that you could not become a journalist in this country unless you had the right ‘connections’. This is precisely the type of fantasy that is indulged much too frequently by people who should know better. Many of the journalists I know are far more working class than some of the self-appointed ‘journalists’ that chastise them.
Of course I will be the worst in the world amongst the ‘politicos’ for even raising this subject, but I feel it is important that there is a clear distinction between blogging, commentary, opinion and journalism.
I write blogs, this does not make me a journalist. I even write opinion pieces and commentate on political developments from my own political perspective- does this make me a journalist? Of course not! Following the logic of the position adopted by the self-appointed, I am as ‘qualified’ to call myself a journalist as many of the bloggers and online ‘politicos’ who have given themselves that title- how bizarre is that?
The only difference between me and many of the bloggers and ‘politicos’ who call themselves journalists is that there is an online culture that embraces any sort of wish washy fluffy liberal writing, it is encouraged and promoted, unlike the views that I would articulate which are dismissed as ‘extreme’. Therefore any sort of tree hugging analysis or blogging is passed off as journalism. I could sit in my bedroom and write my own ‘news’ online all day, does this make me a journalist or a news outlet?
The reality is that many online ‘journalists’ have appointed themselves and rather than going through the hard work of working their way up the industry, they have instead developed a victim complex, complained that they do not have the right connections (as a means of excusing either their lack of talent or lack of desire to work from the bottom up) and decided that they will become their own self-publishing ‘correspondent’. This is entirely the kind of behaviour that will see the destruction of traditional media and journalism- ironically by the very same people who claim to love this particular industry. In fact the working class people who have fought their way up the journalism ladder could end up losing out in favour of this new type of online ‘journalism’.
Sadly sites like Slugger have at times encouraged this blurring of the lines between blogging and real journalism. Slugger is a blogging and commentary site yet many of the contributors have used it as a platform to pass themselves off as ‘journalists’.
You may wonder why I care about this subject, well I don’t particularly. It is simply more of an irritant and one in which I feel there needs to be a debate around. Unlike some I have refused to pander to this online culture of revolutionary ‘journalism’ and furthermore I have refused to afford these self-appointed ‘commentators’ and ‘journalists’ the legitimacy they seem to demand. Of course I will be a “bully” for refusing to join in the club, nothing could be further from the truth, I am simply just willing to address the elephant in the room when it comes to online ‘journalism’.