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Are you a blogger or a journalist?

Are you a blogger or a journalist?

By Tara Settembre, Account Manager, L.A.

Having come from a journalism background, and now being a blogger and working in PR, I am contacting both types of writers and the following question has come up numerous times with my colleagues and friends:

Should bloggers be held to the same journalistic standards as news reporters?

In some respects it makes sense that they shouldn’t be because they are bloggers and NOT journalists after all. For me though, I think it depends on the type of blogger, because in a lot of cases there are journalist bloggers out there. If a blogger takes briefings and reports hard news, then they should aim to be transparent and ethical since they are acting like journalists, albeit citizen ones. With my blog it’s hardly an issue given its lightheartedness and coverage of non-serious topics, but many of us PR reps have been burned by a blogger when falsely assuming they will uphold journalism ethics. One example that comes to mind is when a blogger accepted embargoed news, but then chose to ignore the timing of the embargoed announcement and posted the news two days before all the other publications, effectively breaking the news first and before the company was ready to do so.

Amanda Congdon, a self-described video blogger who made a name for herself at Rocketboom doesn’t believe bloggers should be held to the same standards as journalists. In her blog reports, Congdon delivers quick-hit news items, but when it comes to big issues like Net neutrality, she mentions Rocketboom’s free Internet, pro-tech bias. After helping the online video show rise to prominence, Congdon left to become a producer and host of a somewhat similar report on ABCNews.com, and her work appears on the news site.

Which is precisely why CNET’s Daniel Terdiman says that Congdon has now “changed status, whether she believes it or not.” He thinks she’s a journalist now, and must follow the same rules as the rest of the media world.

Congdon doesn’t agree. In fact, she recently signed with DuPont, one of the world’s largest companies, as a spokesperson, developing what she calls “infotainmercials.” Terdiman says other staff journalists at ABC News might be fired if such a thing were discovered, but not her: She got approval to do the DuPont spots. “Isn’t that what new media is all about? Breaking the rules? Setting our own? I see nothing wrong with doing commercials,” Condgon says. So, does that make her more of a performer than a journalist? If yes, then she shouldn’t be delivering news, says Terdiman. – Read the whole story…

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