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Hypergene MediaBlog » 'Blog' as red herring

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Monday, 07 Oct 2002

'Blog' as red herring

In a Steve Outing E-media post Interactive editor Ken Sands (of the Spokesman-Review in Washington) explains his distaste for the term “blog”.

"One way to avoid the continuing debate about whether blogging is journalism is to avoid the ‘blog’ label. I have now begun to talk about ‘interactive column writing’ as a potentially great journalistic practice. That’s not very catchy, but at least it doesn’t carry the blog baggage. Some people have a very narrow definition of blogging. And much of the journalistic potential that I envision strays pretty far from that definition."
Ken is deftly on target. It is too easy for media folk to dismiss something called a “blog”. Can you blame them? Many of today’s discussions around blogging and journalism chase the red herring of the form rather than the function. The “blog” sometimes prevents a healthy discussion about what’s really at stake - how to become more relevant and responsive to your readers.

No, not all blogs are online diaries. Case in point: Digital Photography Review. Its home page looks somewhat like a blog in the traditional form, but it’s not an online diary. It’s a news site dedicated to digital photography, with insanely thorough reporting on the industry - breaking news, trade show coverage, software updates and equipment reviews. To call it a blog would grossly misrepresent its content. The tools behind most “blogs” are excellent, inexpensive content management tools. Whatever you chose to publish with it, defines the blog. Not the form.

Which leads us to explain why we were attracted to pMachine, the CMS engine behind our this page. The “p” stands for publishing. pMachine can be used to publish a newspaper, magazine, newsletter, PR wire, discussion forum, or an online diary. That its default visual form closely resembles a traditional blog form is probably more of a marketing decision than an intent to push the blog form.

We’ll save our commentary on blog discussions that devolve into debates about the definition of “journalism” for another post.…

Posted on Oct 07, 2002 | 8:47 pm EST
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