Simon Willison’s Weblog


Blogging and journalism

28th February 2003

I’ve been pretty much ignoring the whole “Blogging vs Journalism” thing but recently I’ve begun to understand what the big fuss is about. One of the most popular arguments put forth by journalists concerned by competition from blogs is that the information contained therein isn’t as reliable thanks to a lack of an editor to check facts. Rubbish. I can’t remember the last time I read a technology article in the main stream press about something I have more than a passing interest in that didn’t have at least a few errors. Some of the blogs I read on the other hand are written by subject matter experts—these people are not being paid to knock out 750 vaguely relevant words on a breaking story, they are voluntarily providing their insights because they are heavily involved with the topic at hand.

When Safari came out, who had the best coverage? Look no further than Mark Pilgrim. The Eldred case was graced with coverage by Lawrence Lessig, the man at the very centre of the story. I’m sure there are plenty of other examples.

So, for a lot of tech related news I find blogs a far more useful source of information than the mainstream press. The problem of course is one of reputation—before I can judge the value of a blog entry I need to know something about the blogger who wrote it. Part of this judgement is helped by links from bloggers who I already trust (the linking nature of the web at work). Unlike Tantek I still have a use for traditional media for my non-tech news, but as the blogosphere expands and new methods evolve for finding quality blogs on a variety of subject matter I can see my dependence on the media reducing even more.

This is Blogging and journalism by Simon Willison, posted on 28th February 2003.

Next: Problems in Nirvana

Previous: Quasar usability

Previously hosted at