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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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July 17, 2004

The Next Generation of Journalists Will Start as Bloggers

Posted by Ernest Miller

Denise Howell, of Bag and Baggage fame, went to the Always On Conference in Stanford and blogged it. Her latest post is on the bloggers vs. big media panel (AlwaysOn: Bloggers vs. "Big" Media Competition).

"Bloggers vs. Big Media." Sigh. Look, when are the people who put together these panels going to figure out that it is "Bloggers & Big Media?" They're not in competition, they're symbiotic. But that is not what I want to talk about right now. I'll leave that discussion to the most excellent Mary Hodder, who wasn't on the panel but should have been (It's a Form of Social Media: Blogging AND Journalism). And while I'm mentioning the divine Miss H, a recent article in WIRED has gotten a lot of attention recently, as it discusses why the NY Times' policy of putting content behind a subscription wall after seven days has rendered the venerable Times all but invisible to Google (Searching for The New York Times). Miss Hodder was discussing this months ago and with more insight (Why News and Technical DRM Don't Mix: Linking and Linking Expression are Key). But I digress.

Why don't we take a look at the future of journalism and blogging a few years down the road? Where will the next generation of journalists be learning their craft and filing their first stories? I think an awful lot of them will learn through the process of blogging. Often, the people who become journalists do so because they like to learn about new things, they like to find stories, and they like to write and pass those stories on. If journalism is in their blood at a young age, they're going to start blogging long before they set foot in a J-School. School newspapers are passé, school blogs are cool.

Heck, I expect that in a couple of years or so those who hire novice journalists are going to want to see what sort of blogging experience they have. Nothing says, "I'm a good, disciplined writer" better than several years of good, disciplined writing, such as on a blog.

Of course, this means that these novice journalists are going to enter the profession with habits, both good and bad, as well as certain expectations. Tyro journalists who are used to blogging are going to expect to be able to link. They're going to expect trackbacks and conversations. They're not going to want to state the same facts that everyone else has stated ad nauseum, but only those elements that they can add to the conversation. Because of this, I believe that ultimately, bloggers will change the profession of big media journalism from within to work more cooperatively with blogging.

So, one of the reasons we shouldn't be talking about bloggers vs. journalism is because, eventually, some of the bloggers of today will be the journalists of tomorrow.

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blogging and Journalism


1. Seth Finkelstein on July 17, 2004 08:08 AM writes...

The "vs" part is about the competition for resources, like "Outsourcing jobs to India *vs* Community Investment". There's a similar riff possible there, in that it's sometimes argued that the outsourced jobs eventually become new markets for the outsourcing nation (though it doesn't look that way to the unemployed ...)

Echoing is very common in both journalism and blogs - in fact, the typical journalism echo of wire service story is very much like a blog echo of an A-lister's post. The only difference is the blogger is typically freer to rant about it. And this isn't even a constraint in journalism anymore, see FOX news 1/2 :-).

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2. Denise Howell on July 17, 2004 08:59 PM writes...

Hear hear! This was what immediately impressed me about LawMeme way back when.

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3. The One True b!X on July 19, 2004 04:08 AM writes...

Interestingly, there are people in the comments to this item on Jay Rosen's site who are claiming the opposite: That blogs will never count as "clips" to people hiring journalists.

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4. Seth Finkelstein on July 19, 2004 10:29 AM writes...

I'd tend to agree with those claims, in the sense that I don't think applicants for a journalism job now, show their personal diary if they keep one. It doesn't count.

On the other hand, if one considers it like typing practice, just an exercise in basic writing speed and production, from that angle there's a connection.

It's not a clip. It's an application essay 1/2 :-)

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5. Lornkanaga on July 19, 2004 11:43 PM writes...

I can see this happening. In the world of fiction, many contemporary writers started out writing "fanfiction"--Peter David of science fiction fame for one started writing Star Trek fanfiction.

I think also bloggers are using their journals/blogs as a basis for books.

It's definitely one way to get feedback while you're working to improve your writing skills.

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