Jeff Walsh wrote today about blogging and journalism. Read his essay and this is my response.
I'm with you on all counts as a freelance print journalist, but for one thing: blogs aren't journalism because there is no such as "blogs" -- no monolithic Blog, Inc., that produces blogs of uniform consistency. The "intro to blogs" pieces you mention virtually always make the mistake of lumping blogs into a single category, like war blogs or journalism blogs or Hello Kitty blogs. The criticism leveled at blogs is almost universally decrying a specific form of blog out of thousands of categories. So syllogistically, all blogs are not journalism, some people write journalism in blogs, therefore some blogs are journalism.
Many blogs are first-hand accounts of what someone is doing, has seen, or has done; many blogs are summaries of what other people have written, said, or created; lastly, a small number of blogs are second-hand reports based on interviews or interaction with people who did, saw, or created. This third category of secondhand blogs are the closest thing to print reportage that exists.
I wouldn't try to say that a given blog is or is not journalism, because journalism is broadly instanciating reality through the filter of the mind into the written or spoken word. That's a large category, and in that definition virtually all blogs are journalism, even blogs that are intensely personal or based on interiority.
Rather, the attention on blogs is that it splits attention: journalism is about monolithic ownership these days and monolithic worldviews. Blogs are all about individuals and the millions of separate opinions. In representing blogs to a non-blogging audience, reporters seem drawn to sweep them into a single heap.
Why? Either because you can't become an expert on blogging in the couple of hours a reporter has to write a story, or because a given reporters spends a lot of time in their single blog niche that they become obsessed with and write about blogs as if that niche is all there is.
No subject is monolithic unless you're writing about that scene in 2001.