I was on Twitter yesterday and today, looking for some posts from this year’s Folio conference when I came across a short Twit from one of the “A-list” bloggers that I can’t let go of.
The A-lister I follow is an extremely gifted former software exec who in mid-life went back to school at Harvard. He’s actively blogging his year’s presidential campaign and sees no need to hide his partisan leanings. All that’s good and acceptable in the world of individual blogs,
However along the way this blogger has come to the conclusion that because the reports on things that interest him, he’s some sort of journalist and that the material that’s the basis of other journalists’ work product should be freely accessible to bloggers such as him.
This particular blogger has been critical of Senator McCain’s and Senator Obama’s campaign organizations because they won’t let him in on teleconference calls, or that they don’t acknowledge his requests to participate.
It’s this type of attitude and mistaken beliefs that colors much of social media today. I understand the questions that bloggers raise on getting the same access to events and news subjects as traditional press. I also understand some bloggers’ believe they’re actually reporters.
But guess what, they’re wrong. Dead wrong!
Blogging isn’t reporting, it’s most often just journal writing. And many bloggers are little more than online diarists.
And real world journalism isn’t an exercise in open source coding. Real world reporters aggressively guard their work product. And so do their employers. Real world journalism is also about profits.
Any blogger that thinks they’re entitled to a reporter’s or producer’s work product (which includes material recorded or written in conjunction with a press conference or limited teleconference) needs to step back from their keyboard and take a realistic personal inventory of what they’re doing, who their audience really is and what the reach and frequency is of their end product.
Fortunately for many bloggers, real world media does acknowledge their efforts and infrequently includes their work in a published report. And in even more restricted cases a handful of organizations—including political campaigns and national political conventions have opened their doors to bloggers. But what those organizations don’t do is conceptualize bloggers as part of the traditional press.
Bloggers entitled to free work product collected by a for-profit entity? What part of capitalism do some bloggers not understand?
Maybe it’s going to change in the future, but in the real world, virtually all reporters work you’re their way up the ziggurat. You just don’t start at the top of a phenomena like social media and expect to axiomatically be granted the same access to individuals or material that a real world journalist has scrambled for tens of years or more to gain.
Bloggers may not like it. if so they can clench their little fists, stamp their tiny feet thunderously and cry as much as they want. That’s the way the world operates, even now in the Fall of 2008.—Jim Forbes, 09/22/2008.
(Mandatory disclosure: I was a simple reporter for most of my 35-year career. I’m a blogger now, but the habits of years spent in newsrooms, at crime scenes, butt achingly boring city council meetings or Annual stockholders’ meetings, don’t die easily. I can’t think of a single reason why a for-profit organization would ever give me or any other blogger access to their work product material.)