Bradshaw: Don't assume journalists have more training than bloggers in truth-telling

Online Journalism Blog

In a post about whether the blogosphere is less accurate than "proper" journalism, Paul Bradshaw writes that it's a mistake to assume that professional journalists have more training in truth-telling than bloggers. He argues that people don't need to be trained to tell the truth:

Journalism training consists, if we’re honest I think, of taking ‘the truth’ – which can be complex, boring, and confusing, and showing how to turn that into a story – simple, interesting (through, for example, focusing on a ‘conflict’, even where that may not be as important as portrayed) and clear.



As journalists we know that the truth is often more complicated than we represent it, so we cannot accuse bloggers of being generically unreliable without acknowledging that our own methods have flaws too.



The opportunity in online journalism – whether by professionals or amateurs – is to better represent that complexity, through linking to more detail (full interviews or raw footage, original documents, complete data) or providing for interactivity (how the story affects their postcode, family, or school; experiencing how a process works).

Related: Trayvon Martin story reveals new tools of media power, justice (Poynter) || Earlier: ChicagoNow blogger says Tribune journalists ‘stealing’ ideas from blogs without credit (Poynter) | Is tech blogging over, or entering a new golden age? (Poynter)

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.

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