Picking up the phone

by John Q on February 15, 2009

This is a repost from my blog which got a fair bit of attention. The immediate cause was a hoax involving Australian culture warrior/revisionist historian/serial political enthusiast Keith Windschuttle, but the point seems more general.

Looking at various topics that have been covered by both journalists and bloggers, I’ve noted a common theme in which journalist deplore bloggers’ habit of speculating about subjects instead of “just picking up the phone” and asking those directly involved (examples here and here). The implied (and sometimes expressed) view of bloggers is that of lazy amateurs.

It struck me though, that asking questions of total strangers is both a distinctively journalistic activity and one that implies and requires a special kind of professional license. In fact, “Journalists do interviews” comes much closer to a definition of what is distinctive about journalism than formulations like “journalists report news, bloggers do opinion”.

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Best Conservative Movies

by John Holbo on February 15, 2009


It needs a comment box.

Something here does not compute

by Henry Farrell on February 15, 2009


(readers who don’t have children of a certain age shouldn’t worry if they don’t understand this post).