Blogs as journalism

Discussions have been going on for some time about the status of blogs. Are they journalism? I believe that they can be in many ways. They can break stories. They can contain information that is factually correct. One of the biggest shortcomings, however, is the lack of the integrity of the publication. Not the kind of integrity shown to be recently lacking at the New York Times, but the kind of integrity that what I see today is what I will see tomorrow.

Scripting News was recently plagued by a robot that was rather annoying (to Scripting News). However, it brought to light one of my long-time frustrations - Blogs change. Not just by adding new postings but by removing or changing content. There is not the integrity of an issue of Time magazine - something that once held in my hands and read will remain the same. While it would be technically possible to print many common blogs this defeats the growth of knowledge created by the rapid recombination of data possible through blogging.

For example, some weeks ago, Dave Winer, publisher of Scripting News grew weary of the mud slinging and petty nature of personal attacks and turned off Scripting News. This is completely in his rights as a publisher. The problem is what happens when Scripting News does go away. For whatever reason. There is no comprehensive library that will preserve every issue ever published there (or here for that matter). How will scholars of the future tap the publications of today as they become increasingly temporary?

The Great SARSscam

On the way home for lunch there was a discussion on the radio about SARS. Dr. Len Horowitz's called in to talk about which proclaims to be "a website established by a consortium of companies that produce and market advanced nutritional products, healing remedies and technologies, and environmental conditioning appliances for purifying air, water, and electromagnetic fields."

While this appears to be strictly true there are three companies listed as the site's sponsors. All three are LLC's that on their About page say are directly parts of Dr. Horowitz's business interests. In fact the same article appears on one of the sponsors site, apparently identical to the SARSscam site.

One of the prime arguments is that SARS is about companies making money. Why then, since influenza kills thousands a year are these same monied companies that are supposedly in charge of all this not "making" the media report about their influenza related products?


Subscribe to Journalism