Blogging, The New Journalism Frontier

Este artículo también está disponible en español.

The following article addresses five questions asked by university faculty member and digital journalism advocate, Zinnia Martínez, in her weblog, Periodismo Interactivo.

The questions were the following:

• How journalism has been incorporated into Venezuelan blogosphere?

• What Venezuelan blogosphere add to Venezuelan journalism?

• Do you think that journalism can be practiced in the blogosphere without being a journalist? (Translator note: In Venezuela, college graduates on journalism have to affiliate to a professional bar in order to be lawfully allowed to practice that profession)

• Are Venezuelan journalists ready for undertaking the blogosphere routines and to take part in blogosphere conversations?

• What you think would happen if online Venezuelan newspapers integrate weblogs into their websites?

All over the world, journalism as a technique has been incorporated almost unconsciously into blogging, partially because bloggers have made journalism’s discourse structures their own, since they tend to be customarily information consumers—some of them passionate and compulsive. Nonetheless, blogging overcomes the rigid over-simplicity of journalism by adding the stylistic powerfulness of “oral tales” and friends’ conversations. In addition, the best weblogs incorporate the resources of linking, referencing, quoting as well as pictures and graphics. Thus, they present a new public language, which excels the journalistic language. We are talking about the best weblogs of course. There are others… better not to talk about.

The Venezuelan blogosphere does not contribute anything to Venezuelan journalism. It does not contribute anything because the blogosphere and the press are on parallel tracks. Bloggers take input from mass media, when they want to do so. They do not give anything back, because those who could benefit from their contributions prefer to stay inside a tank sealed against innovation.

Journalism is a trade that is developed in the practice. Therefore, those who do journalism via blogging can call themselves journalists. Professional certification is not a requirement for an independent journalist—either in the blogosphere or in the grassroots media—; although, professional certification may be still needed in private and government-run mass media as a labor rights safeguard, as well as a quality control mechanism on behalf of news-consumers. In the blogosphere, professional status is not necessary because the trade is being performed independently without the supervision from a business owner and there are not vulnerable clients to be protected but conversation partners. Professional training is necessary in this—as well as any other—milieu, but such training can be obtained by self-study. Credentials are optional.

In general, Venezuelan journalists are not ready for participation in the blogging movement. They lack the technical skills, and predisposition toward plural and horizontal dialogue. They lack interest.

Cadena Global gives us an example of what will happen if big mass media incorporate weblogs into their websites: Nothing will happen. Few read it, nobody links, almost none comment.

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