Monday, May 05, 2003

Welcome to JBlog

JBlog is a Web log (blog) about the intersection of journalism and blogging.

I've watched the blogging phenomenon since it emerged in the late '90s. At first I dismissed it as nothing more than a new name for what people had been doing on the Web since its inception: creating personal pages of links and maintaining online diaries. The only difference seemed to be that it opened Web publishing to people who didn't have much (if any) ability to create a Web page. By and large, I was right. There appeared to be an inordinate number of teenage girls who blogged, and they wrote about the things teenage girls tend to write about. I didn't put much stock in it. Then something happened.

Along with the growing ranks of personal blogs, professionals and experts in various fields -- mostly scientific and computer-related -- began keeping blogs. So did businessmen and advertising executives and, eventually, journalists.

Blogs have become an Internet and pop culture phenomenon. Part fact, part personal narrative, part link, and maybe a few other things, blogs have broken big stories and become so influential that they can and have spurred journalists to pick up on stories that might have been ignored (as was the case with racially-tinged comments by U.S. politician Trent Lott). They help keep journalists accurate and honest by fact-checking their reports. Blogs have also given people an inside look at life and events in places where journalists can't or don't or won't go.

Some of the questions all of this raises:

Is blogging is journalism or something else? With more journalists hopping on the blogging bandwagon, how do they address legal issues that may arise? Where does the journalist end and the blogger begin? As a journalist, what rights does your employing news organization have over what you blog?

And as blogging becomes increasingly popular among journalists (especially American journalists), why haven't journalists in the number-two most-wired country in the world (Canada; South Korea is number one) followed suit?

Those are some of questions I hope to explore here. I hope you'll explore them with me.

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