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The process is the map

This post is pretty old, but Dave Winer just linked back to it today and I picked up on something new; also, it ties in nicely to the recent discussion from the Dead Parrots, and if you aren’t reading the Parrots you ought to be. So, discussion ensues. Here’s the money quote from Dave:

OK, let’s deconstruct a myth. Someone says that weblogs aren’t journalism. OK, suppose a journalist has a weblog. When that journalist writes something on the weblog, therefore, it must not be journalism. Suppose the journalist writes exactly the same words on her weblog that she writes in a column in the newspaper she writes for. In one place it’s journalism and in the other it’s not? Hmmm.

Assuming we’re talking about a weblog with no editor, the answer is quite possibly yes. The logical fallacy is in the assumption that journalism is simply words. It’s not; it’s a process. It’s certainly possible to use that process in a weblog — c.f. Gizmodo, which is not precisely deep journalism but which qualifies nonetheless — but a weblog does not become journalism simply because it’s news-oriented.

Really, it’s about reputation capital. (Ob”Whuffie”:,3605,889293,00.html.) “Journalism” is shorthand for “the reputation capital built up by generations of reporters and editors who have made the unwritten bargain to live up to the standards of those who have gone before them.” Independent journalism is hard because the journalists don’t have the reputation backup of an editor. Some succeed, and some don’t.

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