(Author's note Please read the whole post .
It was mostly satire if you read the whole post. My point is that while the MSM say there is not a system of checks and balances on the blogosphere, there is- and it is the same used in academia. Perhaps that verbiage would help in the definition department. The top was humor and I make that clear at the end.)
I've always hated the word... Blogger. Even without referencing its auditory resemblance to gelatinous masses ejected from nasal cavities, I still don't like it. Blogger. Say it aloud. It sounds as if you are talking with a mouth full of food you are trying to prevent from escaping. Or perhaps it sounds like some did escape.
Either way, what does it mean? One who has a weblog? Look that up in a hip glossary and it does not cover what I do. This is no "on-line diary." People outside the blogospehre don't like the word either. After all, bloggers (as we all know) don't have the systems of checks and balances like they have in a traditional newsroom.
It was my adventure debunking Professor Hailey that lead me to an epiphany. I no longer what to be called a blogger and neither should you.
We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists.
It was the phone call to the head of Professor Hailey's department that made me see the light. He said something to the effect of, "Certainly Dr. Hailey's work needs to stand up to peer review." But who exactly is Dr. Hailey's peer? Apparently some guy sitting in his pajamas who has a blog.
The simple act of "getting things right" is important to society. Politicians must get things right so have have voters keep an eye on them. Lawyers must get things right so we have juries. So to must scholars get things right, so a system of "peer review" was born. I can think of no other entity than the traditional media whose only review system is internal.
Multiple people have tried to make the case that the blogospehre is more accurate than the mainstream media. Heck, search this blog and you'll find I've done it several times. What we have lacked is a way to explain our system of checks and balances to people outside the blogosphere.
The phrase "Peer Reviewed Journalism" does that.
And if you think it is ego or hubris writing, take a walk thru the blogosphere with me...
Last night's post was a stunning case study. It all started with the the debunking post. Within minutes, my peers, mostly in the comments section, started to find inconsistencies with the post and the source materials linked.
I immediately put up an update noting the inconsistencies. Within minutes it was determined that the professor was changing his website as a reaction to my discovery and I posted an update with that. Being a responsible peer reviewed journalist, on both updates, I promised to look at his new evidence and if it were credible I'd "trumpet" it loudly.
About that time, another peer felt he had enough evidence to make a post of his own. it started:
Hold on, folks. †Has anyone other than Right of Center actually read the memo?
Then he proceeds to layout what might be compelling evidence the professor had not forged the documents. After some sleuthing it became apparent that the professor put additional language in the document to try to defend his work.
There was a mad scramble to get the original pdf up for -well- peer review. After a technological delay, we got the original up and that same peer reviewed it. His next post concluded:
Bottom line:†Paul was right, and my defense of the prof was wrong. †Good job, Paul.
My worked survived his peer review. Somewhere in the middle I said to one of my peers who apologized for asking so many questions, "...hit me with your best shot- I wouldn't want it any other way." And I meant it. I wanted to be right. The harder people looked, the more confidence I had.
To see the effect of peer reviewed journalism in microcosm Allah's post is perfect. Thru his everyday "blogging" habits he distilled the essence of peer reviewed journalism. Sure we are partisan and the bulk of us wear our partisanship on our sleeves but at the end of the day, its about getting things right.
A google search tells me that while I did come up with the phrase, Bill Hobbs apparently had the same epiphany quit some time ago in a similar case. I'm just making the case we start using it.
And no- I'm not so pretentious that I don't want to be called a blogger- I went out and bought some new pajamas this weekend. The top was somewhat satirical but like all good satire, there is a grain of truth in there somewhere.
My point is that if we use the term "peer reviewed journalism" especially when explaining what we do, we might not get any more pajama comments -- no matter how much we relish them.