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Reading Response #4 – Journalists and Journalism

1. This week’s chapter title asks a question.  Based on the reading and your experiences with blogs (reading and writing them), are bloggers citizen journalists?

2. Melissa Wall’s comments cited in the chapter brought to mind a quote by the former co-owner of The Washington Post, Philip Graham.  He said, “Journalism is the first draft of history.”  Think about how news blogs, Facebook, Tumblr, instagram, vine postings, tweets etc – and any other social media platform being used by news organizations now and in the future may impact journalism and therefore the writing of the historical draft.

Don’t forget to post your responses by the Tuesday 10/1 @ 11:59p deadline.

Published inJournalismSocialmediaTrends


  1. Kelsey J. Kondraski Kelsey J. Kondraski

    Based on my experiences with blogs and after the reading, I do believe that bloggers are citizen journalists, but only to a certain extent. Citizen journalism is basically when public people play a part in the process of collecting, spreading and reporting news. Blogs that I read are mostly nutrition blogs. However, I wouldn’t necessarily be as interested if they weren’t credible sources. Most of this information that comes from these blogs is from other news outlets or articles. Other types of bloggers would not be considered citizen journalists. Blogs that include diaries or personal accounts can’t be considered news. However, I think that more and more regular people have the ability to become a citizen journalist. With all of the social media that is being used by major news outlets today, it is inevitable. The public uses social media almost every day, whether it is twitter, facebook, tumblr, etc. Each and every one of these people can post about the news and technically be considered a “citizen journalist.” I know that I get a lot of my information from twitter and Facebook. I often read about news issues from my friends on social media before I read it on a news outlet. I think that the quote, “journalism is the first draft of history” holds merit when it comes to social media. I also think that it can tie in with citizen journalism. With more and more people becoming active on social media, there will be several different accounts on the news and opinions on the news. This will have a negative effect on the future of journalism because with so many account and opinions, how will the future know which “history” is correct.

  2. Carter Wintsch Carter Wintsch

    The question of “are bloggers merely citizen journalists” is actually a question I wrestle with on a fairly regular basis. My dream job would be to operate a blog and YouTube channel where I post my music reviews and that can be fiscally rewarding. The dilemma I constantly dwell on, however, is that I, along with thousands of other bloggers, are already doing the exact same thing for free. So, how do I separate myself from being some guy with a blog and an opinion to a music journalist with credibility and knowledge?

    I think for the common internet user, it could be hard to separate those two types of bloggers. Since I am a college student without a job, I can’t afford to operate and pay for my own website and URL, so I am forced to use sights such as tumblr. While I work very hard on my reviews and like to think that I know what I am talking about, my content is going past the same people who go onto tumblr for cat pictures or the latest meme. Therefore, I think that the most of the weight has to be put on the viewer to sift through the mess that is the blogging world and find bloggers that they find credible and informed as opposed to someone who is just spewing about this and that.

    As far as journalism being the first draft of history, I couldn’t agree more. For most of the country that wasn’t present in New York City for the tragic attacks on 9/11, video coverage and headlines are what people remember and will tell their children/grandchildren about. While it is commonly accepted that “victors write the history books”, the first real account of history is from those reporting on it. Social media has taken this to a whole new degree, however, and not always in the best direction. While those first accounts of history may be coming in faster and faster, that is sometimes affecting their accuracy (i.e. premature reports of Joe Paterno’s death). Overall, I think that social media is good for the writing of the historical draft, though. Not only will more individuals who were on the site of the event be able to contribute the sensations of what occurred around them, but most importantly, we can assume more people will read about it.

  3. Olivia La Bianca Olivia La Bianca

    The use of blogs and other kinds of social media by organizations, companies, and individuals has all but demolished the idea of the objective standpoint. People are using news and information to gain personal agendas, whether its to promote a business, worldview, or cause. Since it no longer has to be passed through and filtered by an editing staff in a traditional newsroom, what gets through is 100% pure individual bias.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing, since advocacy journalism has been hiding under the surface of traditional media since the early 1900s with the initiation of the black press. I personally appreciate the unassuming quality adopted by journalists who say what they think and don’t try to pass it off as irrefutable truth. However, the realization that this is the future and we now – instead of focusing on having one story encompass all sides of the story – we need to make sure that all sides of the story have equal opportunities to be heard.

  4. Lucas Rodgers Lucas Rodgers

    I agree with Kelsey’s comment that bloggers are citizen journalists, but only in certain cases. Bloggers can write about anything they want; most of the time, their posts won’t be considered journalistic in nature. On the other hand, there are situations in which bloggers might have more access to a story than even traditional journalists would. The examples of Salam Pax and ntcoolfool, cited by Jill Walker Rettberg in her chapter, show how bloggers can be the first journalists to break a story. Of course, Pax and ntcoolfool were less objective than a traditional journalist would be, but the information they posted online allowed other journalists to get information about the war in Iraq and the Virginia Tech shooting, as well as perspectives from people who were directly affected by these events.
    This chapter also mentions how a symbiosis between mainstream media and social media has developed in recent years. It seems this bond will continue to grow stronger. There will always be a place for traditional journalists, but mainstream media are increasingly relying on bloggers and social media to break stories and uncover additional information to supplement news packages. Furthermore, professional journalists are evolving so they can produce in-depth news stories while simultaneously posting smaller stories to social media. Philip Graham’s quote about journalism being the first draft of history seems to hold true. There is a wealth of newsworthy information on social media, but it can be difficult to sift through. I believe that social media will play an increasingly important role for journalism in the future, but journalists must be wary of media saturation on certain issues. With so many voices contradicting each other, it can be rather difficult to find the truth. Abbott Joseph Liebling’s quote: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” is still very relevant as well. With the advent of the Internet and social media, it’s easier than ever for people to share information and exchange new ideas. However, this also makes it easier for organizations and individuals to spread disinformation. I think Americans are losing trust in the mainstream media, rightfully so. Independent journalists and citizen journalists tend to be more likely to produce unbiased stories that are free from corporate or political agendas. Nevertheless, it’s important for people to do their own research to discover all sides of a story and get a glimpse at the truth.

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