‘I find it helpful to think of modern journalism in terms of mental disorders’

This is an old post but I’m leaving it here for the hell of it. Failed links have been updated or removed.

I’ve avoided weighing into any debates about whether or not bloggers are journalists or blogs are journalism because I think it’s a pointless conversation. It’s like debating whether books are journalism – it depends on the book in question.

Anyway, I enjoyed this post from science writer Ed Yong who writes Not Exactly Rocket Science.

“When I write for my blog, I do so in exactly the same way as I would for a mainstream organisation. I ask whether stories are worth telling. I interview and quote people. I write in plain English. I provide context. I fact-check… a lot. I do not use press releases, much less copy them. I don’t even own pajamas.

“My point, and it has been said many times before, is that blogs are simply software. They are a channel, a medium, a container for all sorts of things including journalism.”

Yep. Blogs are software. Bloggers are people. People can be journalists, or do journalism, or not.

Blogger, journalist, whatever – this is a lovely turn of phrase:

“I find it helpful to think of modern journalism in terms of mental disorders.

“The field of mental health is moving away from sharply defined diagnoses to spectrums of behaviours. In a similar way, there is a spectrum of journalistic values, norms and techniques, which are present to different extents in different people or even individual pieces of work.

“I know I fall somewhere on that spectrum. Am I a journalist? Honestly, I care less about the answer than I once did. I am not being blase – I care very deeply about journalism, but there are few things more boring than journalists arguing over what counts as journalism.”

Quite. Read the full post here.

And read about how Ed contributes money each month to the 10 science posts he thought were the best:

“Throughout the blogosphere, people produce fantastic writing for free. That’s great, but I believe that good writers should get paid for good work. To set an example, I choose ten pieces every month that were written for free and I donate £3 to the author. There are no formal criteria other than I found them unusually interesting, enjoyable and/or important.

“I also encourage readers to support these writers through two buttons on the sidebar. Any donations via “Support Science Writers” are evenly distributed to chosen ten at the end of the month. Donations via the “Support NERS” button go to me; I match a third of the total figure and send that to the chosen writers too.”