Alan on blogs, circa 2003

I stumbled across this three-year-old article, “Blogs: The Latest Option In Raising Your Voice Online,” written by Reid Goldsborough for Information Today. Reid interviewed me about blogs in early 2003, and my fundamental misgivings about their role in journalism haven’t changed. Most blogs don’t have editorial oversight, or any sort of objective review, and as such don’t replace properly reported/edited content (whether online or in print).

Nobody filters what I blog here on Z Trek, nobody chooses topics but me, nobody edits it but me. By contrast, what I write for SD Times and other publications — even when I’m at the top of the food chain — is line-edited, copy-edited, fact-checked, and sometimes tech-edited by professional editors. Often, my premise, arguments and conclusions are challenged by my colleagues, and the back-and-forth discussion dramatically improves the story.

Good editing adds balance and objectivity. That’s journalism, that’s the editorial process at work. By contrast, my blog, and most blogs, are simply notebooks.

That doesn’t mean that well-written blogs aren’t valuable and timely sources of information: They certainly are. But it’s important to remember the limitations as well as the advantages. They’re not journalism, even if they’re written by journalists.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick