The most contentious argument put forward at last night’s debate, Science in the Media: rude or ailing health?, was not about specifically about science, but focussed on the credibility of blogging.
Science Media Centre’s Fiona Fox asserted that blogging is not journalism – a comment which raised a few eyebrows in City University’s lecture theatre, where the debate was being held.
Quite rightly, The Economist’s Natasha Loder pointed out that blogging is a platform akin to television. Therefore, if somebody takes the time to investigate a story using journalistic skills and then publishes their findings on a blog, that blog is journalism.
But one audience member argued that many blogs were bias or not thoroughly investigated pieces of journalism, so how can the reader judge the credibility of a blog they are reading?
Even award-winning blogger Ed Yong said he has not always treated his blog stories with the same degree of scrutiny that he would an article he writes for a magazine – i.e. making a few calls to answer any lingering questions from a release. But he also argued that hyperlinks strengthen the validity of online articles because the reader can trace the roots of the story through links.
Like Yong, I don’t tend to investigate my blog stories with the same degree of scrutiny as I would in the newsroom and I was pleased to hear I wasn’t alone in feeling guilty about it. Perhaps it is due to the personal nature of a blog — my audience is mainly me.