Addressing the Journalism vs. Blogging Debate

From Anne Clelland:

The definition of the boundary in online content between citizen journalism – blogging – and public relations, marketing, and advertising “creative” is a hot topic of discussion, delineated thoughtfully, for example, by the Wall Street Journal in Paid to Pitch and ReadWriteWeb in Journalism 2.0:  Don't Throw Out the Baby.

Here’s the way I see the context for online content:  We trust journalists.  We’re cautious about PR pros, marketers, and advertisers.  We trust journalists to report the facts as they know and understand them.  We believe PR and marketing types report “the facts” that will entice us to buy.

This, then, is the hard question:  When I go online and read a blog post, is it the truth? 

Is what the blogger has written informed by his or her best knowledge of the facts as he or she understands them?  Has the blogger shared true experience and genuine opinion?

Or was the blogger paid to pitch?  If so, can what the blogger wrote still be true?

On a print newspaper or magazine page, journalism and PR or advertising sit side-by-side.  If the “creative” is in the form of text, it’s marked “Paid Advertisement.”

I think there’s only one solution to that problematic question asked of online content, “Is it the truth?”

Tell the truth.

If you’re paid to pitch, say so.

Handshake 2.0 has a very interesting business model.  It's a business news site and a public relations site.  And it's a blog. 

Some of our posts are written by us as journalists.  We've been the very first source of some news, in print or online.  And some of our posts are written by us as publicists for our paying clients.  On those posts, we say so.

And some of our posts are neither.

It's a very interesing business model in this evolutionary phase of business in the world of Web 2.0.

Thanks to Robert Geller, @rgeller, for the story idea and WSJ link, and Ken Maready for the ReadWriteWeb link.

Handshake 2.0's Business Model Is So Web 2.0
Today's Eclipse - Rockbridge Pinot Noir (White)


  1. Beautiful post.

    Re content… people have to get use to living in a rapidly changing world. The words no longer fit. What was creative yesterday exists today… but is supplanted. Thus no longer considered a creation … how sadly exciting.

    Prof Venard at Ohio State said a professor of a good graduate program lives in a patricide community. The invention kills its father. The creative lives in a cemetery of old definitions, ideas, discoveries, technologies.

    Continue to try for truth. Beg for it among others. Ask that people state their affiliation (and predict that it will not be true or hidden or expressed with bias) and continue to argue for us all to become the reasonable skeptical inquirer … for nothing is certain. If brave enough, point out flaws to share with others so that they can see the truths or other perspectives on the same object.

    This is a word game and there are no scores and no score keepers…. except authors with word-counters. … or academics trying to score “publication” credits.

    You’re going below the surface now. It might be even more exciting.


  2. Anne Clelland says:

    Thanks, Dad. You’re the best.

  3. Thoughtful, informed discussion of the subject:

    Hired News: Will P.R. pros take the baton of investigative journalism?

    “And though it’s considered wise to believe the contrary, these communications types are not constructing all these news items entirely (or even mostly) by lying. Flackery requires putting together credible narratives from pools of verifiable data. This activity is not categorically different from journalism. Nor is the teaching value that flackery provides entirely different from that of journalism: Most of the content you hear senators and congressmen reading on C-SPAN is stuff flacks provided to staffers.”

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