Friday, March 11, 2005

Blogging as publishing format

Following on the same track and the discussion that has develop in the comments space of Jill Walker’s post I would like to bring the attention to very good post by Toril Mortensen in her thoughtful blog, thinking with my fingers, where she asks herself and answers to the question:
so: is blogging journalism? No. But a blog can be a medium for good reporting, good news coverage, and good investigative journalism. It is also a lot more.

I agree. But... there is a small noticeable difference here. A blog can be used as a good and effective publishing tool to do the tasks of a notable and important profession like journalism. But I would not dare to say that this in itself makes a single blog a medium proper. It is rather an authoring platform that once is up and running can enter in the public sphere and create all kinds of ethic and aesthetic distinctions and conflicts given the interests that are into play once a challenging utterance has come out to the public. As it is the case with Apple's court case against three bloggers.

I would say that it is in the networking of comment, dissent, track backing and linking that the blogging activity flourishes and become what I have called a very clear format with well defined characteristics, tools (database, syndication etc) and set of rhetorical conventions and ideological and aesthetic similarities.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Blogging as format and its legal consequences

In her wonderful blog, Jill Walker discusses recently the court case Apple has initiated against blogs who apparently revealed industrial secrets. I agree with Jill that the court case raises questions about the legal status of blogs. But disagree with her when she says
"that blogging’s... not really about journalism at all".
The reason for my disagreement is conceptual. There is a tendency to consider blogging a genre or a medium when in fact blogging is a format.

And a format is a formal and content set of conventions created within a medium to rhetorically address a certain audience.

Each medium can have several formats. I have commented and presented an example as an argument for what I understand is a format: in Radio (and blogging has strong similarities with Radio) you have a medium and different formats: magazines, news programs, soaps etc.

As a matter of fact within the blogging format there are several genre within this format: the personal, collective, fictional, opinionated and news blogs. There are journalists who write in their blogs as if they were broadcasting news (they double check their sources, they are reliable and they follow known journalist’s ethical standards.) So in this particular case of bloggers who ordinarily report on facts and are used to cover events as elections, gatherings or corporate strategies are blogs that exercise a profession called journalism.

I do not know on which grounds the American judge tentatively will rule that three blogs should reveal the source of leaked information about an unreleased Apple product. But he/she should take some of these issues into consideration.

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