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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blogging and Journalism

The fault line is ever shrinking between Blogging and Journalism. Blogging - specially political blogging has come a long distance. Gone is the period where it was words and opinions essentially unsubstantiated and based on murky half baked thoughts or hearsay borne out non-conviction and lacked clarity, vision and conviction.

Journalists - serious journalists - even if they are freelancers abide by a code of conduct. Sources, facts, checked and verified came first - slant or bias kept to a minimum - language straight forward and error free.

Bloggers were deemed to be free of these "restraints" then. It was their blog, they could write whatever they wanted.

I once rejected a shoddily written article. The writer submitted another atrociously written article. I pointed out the deficiencies and errors in the first paragraph and suggested a serious re-write. He submitted a third article that was also filed under G. He complained. In his note the writer said all those articles were published. The poor idiot had "published" them on his blog, at another site! And had the audacity to cite that as evidence.

Today, bloggers have matured and are serious about their writing.

Take Josh Marshall who won a Polk Award.


A Landmark for Bloggers -- and the Future of Journalism

By Will Bunch,

Here's how and why Marshall and Talking Points Memo won a Polk Award:

"His site,, led the news media coverage of the politically motivated dismissals of United States attorneys across the country. Noting a similarity between firings in Arkansas and California, Marshall (with staff reporter-bloggers Paul Kiel and Justin Rood) connected the dots and found a pattern of federal prosecutors being forced from office for failing to do the Bush Administration's bidding."

Hopefully, this acknowledgment of what one savvy blogger and his team have accomplished is a milestone that will speed the day when mainstream journalists realize that the best kind of blogger like Marshall is truly one of our own kind, using new tools and a new way of thinking to break a news story that otherwise might have not been discovered.

The George Polk Awards are kind of like the Golden Globes of American journalism . Not as well known as those Oscars of the news business, the Pulitzer Prize, the Polk Awards are nevertheless probably a close second in terms of prestige, and this year I am especially blown away by the quality of the work they honor.

The winners include Leila Fadel, the Baghdad bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, a 26-year-old woman who reports from some of the most dangerous regions of Iraq, as well as journalists who peeked under Vice President Cheney's veil of secrecy, toxic river pollution in China, unsafe cribs, infant mortality in Mississippi, the Blackwater scandal, human rights abuses in Burma, healthcare scams, and the courageous work of Oakland's Chauncey Bailey, who was slain as he investigated drug dealers in his hometown.


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