"What is a journalist?"
That's a good question, which he presented to his readers in a recent story in The State:
The growth of Internet sites focusing on government and politics has put Web loggers and self-described “citizen journalists” into positions typically reserved for traditional media practitioners, including reporters and editors working for newspapers, wire services, and television and radio stations.
In state capitols across the country, officials are trying to figure out how to treat the proliferating members of the new media.
In his story, to support the point of view that bloggers, who often present late-breaking SC political news faster than traditional media outlets, aren't really journalists, he quoted Bill Rogers with the S.C. Press Association, who rejected the notion that bloggers could be journalists:
The honoring of credentials is a courtesy offered to traditional media outlets so that the general public, through their reports, can have better access to government meetings, sporting events, police investigation scenes and the like. Anyone can be a blogger, which is fine, but that doesn’t make them a journalist.
Really Mr. Rogers? I didn't know the journalism field was so selective. Granted many of these positions require a formal education, but so does being a teacher in Clinton or Ware Shoals. But it doesn't always guarantee they're any more ethical or professional than any other Joe Blow.
Of course, take note the guy said "traditional media outlets", so if you're not with a news outlet that is printed or broadcast over the airwaves, you can't join his old-tech "Boy's Only Club".
By contrast, the folks at PR News, people who don't make the news, but make a good living dealing with it, have a somewhat different view of bloggers, advising their readers to respect and work with bloggers, portraying them as people just as interested in getting and presenting information as any traditional news media outlet:
Building relationships is important, as well as monitoring your space, even if your client decides not to blog. You must monitor the bloggers who blog about your client, so you can respond in a timely manner to the chatter that's out there. A rumor or critical situation can turn to wildfire very rapidly.
Bloggers are well informed, savvy and opportunistic. (They are) passionate about their topics but also very willing to listen. They have opinions, but they are open to listening to arguments. They won't always agree, but you can start a conversation.
Bloggers want the exclusive as much as The New York Times does. It's good to offer things like that to bloggers, especially ones with a big audience base. Because they are so viral, you need to build good relations with bloggers.
It might benefit the folks at The State to take a few minutes to look at what is going on out there and realize us bloggers aren't a bunch of misfits after all (that label only applies to yours truly).