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Don't call me a Blogger

(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.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Don't call me a Blogger:

» chrisshort.net linked with Don't Label Paul a Blogger

» Weekend Pundit linked with We're Not Bloggers Anymore

» smallbuttough.com linked with Wizbang: Don't call me a Blogger

» Parkway Rest Stop linked with Blogs -- From "Blobs" to Hipdom.

» A Small Victory linked with Post-RatherGate Thoughts on Blogging

» Right Thoughts linked with I am a blogger of one

» LeatherPenguin linked with And You Better Smile When You Call Me That

» PoliBlog linked with We Be Bloggers

» Espresso Sarcasm linked with I Am Asshole, Hear Me Roar

» Fulton Chain linked with Urban renewal

» ISOU linked with Wizbang Not Being Sued...

» The Rogue Angel linked with Blogosphere Bullshit

» Simon World linked with Natural blogging

» JimSpot linked with Still Blogging

» ISOU linked with Some Quick Notes

» Who Tends the Fires linked with Best and Worst of Blogistan 2004!

Comments (34)

I prefer "open source journ... (Below threshold)

I prefer "open source journalism". However, either way you're not going to escape the blogger tag. It's a sticky tag that accurately describes the type of media you use to share your thoughts/opinions/reports.

Well, that does Acronym to ... (Below threshold)

Well, that does Acronym to "PRJ". OSJ for James' suggestion. PRJ isn't too bad.

After all, everything has to be acronymed these days.

(I can't find to attribute, but a personal favorite was the comment "Calling the Year 2000 Rollver Bug "Y2K" is the exact problem that GOT us in this mess!")

But I've always HATED the term "blog". I always say "weblog" which makes sense, versus "blog" which always seemed to me to be a sort of "I'm hip, and I'll invent a unneeded word to prove it".

The word is already getting... (Below threshold)

The word is already getting out to the general public that blogging is a system of peer reviewed journalism. This may make a more descriptive term unnecessary. Think of it as the "racial epithet" process in reverse.

"Negro" was the respectful term for blacks throughout the great civil rights battles, but just because it was a label for blacks, and blacks were still looked down upon by a lot of people, it developed "negative connotations," and we moved on to "black." (I personally refuse to iterate the process to "African American.)

Blogger might sound funny--it does--but it is developing the correct reputation for its relentless drive to get to the bottom of the story. Soon enough, everyone will know what it means and there will be no need to try to explain to the ignorant.

Out of curiosity, how is no... (Below threshold)

Out of curiosity, how is not wanting to be called a "blogger" any different from garbage collectors wanting to be called "sanitation engineers?"

I don't know. I'm one of t... (Below threshold)

I don't know. I'm one of the few people who likes the term "blog".

I'm sorry, but half of what went wrong with the conventional media was that everyone took themselves waaaay too damn seriously.

Whereas the bloggers, who've accomplished a lot in terms of making information more accessible, are simply a bunch of individuals talking about what they like to talk about, or think is important. No single individual is the star, because the blogosphere requires a whole lot of people actively looking for information and communicating it to one another.

To talk about lofty things like "peer review journalism" is well...I don't know. Too stuffy for my tastes.

But maybe that's just me.

What next, Paul? Abandon t... (Below threshold)

What next, Paul? Abandon the pajama, digital brownshirt and rumor mill tags too?

Kidding... good point, but I'm not all that put off by "blog".

Open source journalism mean... (Below threshold)

Open source journalism means what exactly to people who have no idea what open source software is?

The rest of you are getting bogged down, I don't mind the word blogger, it was satire, I just think we need a better way of explaining what we do.

Fair enough :D I guess I'm ... (Below threshold)

Fair enough :D I guess I'm a little too pretentious myself.

Watch the magic. w... (Below threshold)

Watch the magic.


we blog

Hence the name. We-Bloggers are webloggers.

The blogosphere is evolving... (Below threshold)

The blogosphere is evolving, maybe maturing is a better word. It seems like it started as a place for people to share their thoughts, then their opinions, now it is a place where I go to find out the latest and greatest facts about the big issues (especially political). Anyone who thinks blogs like Wizbang (and many many others) aren't real journalism are too clueless to continue conversing with.

Blogh!... (Below threshold)
Drowning Homer:


Sorry. I haven't any proble... (Below threshold)

Sorry. I haven't any problem with being called a blogger. I don't let people determine my identity for me, I make it myself. Maybe that is why it doesn't bother me.

A few months ago I was gett... (Below threshold)

A few months ago I was getting most of my news online via Yahoo, NYT, FoxNews and our local rag (the SF Chronicle), with occasional forays over to BBC and CSM. I was aware of blogs but hadn't read any.

Then Yahoo started offering a Beta RSS feed on its personalized portal page. Instapundit caught my eye and and I started clicking around the blogroll, discovering Wizbang (of course), Hugh Hewitt, Powerline, LGF, PoliPundit and many others that I found far more worthy of my time and eyeballs than the outlets I mentioned above.

These days if I check NYT or the other MSM once a day, that's about it. And at that, it's usually just to see how far behind the curve or out on the disguised partisan edge they are on some topic.

I think the blogs I read regularly are compelling because (1) the quality of analysis and writing is outstanding, (2) they unfold the story in real time, not bound by archaic publication schedules, (3) their investigative and research resources are phenomenal -- far beyond those of any MSM news organization -- when you consider the thousands of specialists who can swarm to any given story within hours, and (4) they succeed or fail in a free marketplace, unlike the MSM and news services who are characterized by geographical (or bandwidth) monopolies or oligarchies.

So, while "peer reviewed journalism" captures an important element of the success of the blogosphere (at least with this faithful reader), more could be better. How about "free market real time volunteer peer reviewed journalism?"

FMRTVPRJ?? Maybe not . . .

Does this mean you're going... (Below threshold)

Does this mean you're going to change URLs? You'll have to forgive me for expecting to find a blog at wizbangblog.com. And a pretty good one, at that.

1. I don't like 'blog' eith... (Below threshold)

1. I don't like 'blog' either and 'guest-blogging' has to be my least favorite phrase of all time.

2. Not all weblogs are focused on politics or current events; some really are more like personal diaries or narrowly focused newsletters. Their readership may not be growing as fast as that of the Wizbangs of the net, but there are still thousands of them.

3. My choice for politcal/current events weblogs would be something along the lines of "Self-correcting opinion on politics and stuff" ("Scoops")

So we're not web loggers (b... (Below threshold)

So we're not web loggers (bloggers), we're
peer-reviewed journalists...does that make us preejers?

Surely someone can coin a phrase that works as well short as it does long. I like PRJ, but it doesn't lend itself to typing or talking.

How true...I can a... (Below threshold)

How true...

I can always tell the myopic internet user or web neophyte when I say that I get my news and analysis primarily from the internet. They either dont understand, or refuse to accept peer reviewed journalism flowing from what I'd call the transparently sourced internet news confederation.

I hate to get all academic ... (Below threshold)

I hate to get all academic here, but you all seem to miss an important aspect of peer review: it occurs before research gets published.

I think that blogs are emerging as a type of Fifth Estate, a watchdog on the watchdogs if you will. A subcategory of journalism. The final check on unrestrained power.

Madison would love it.

Very good; I have to agree.... (Below threshold)

Very good; I have to agree.

"transparently sourced inte... (Below threshold)

"transparently sourced internet news confederation"
TSINC... I like it. Pronounce like teh-sync.

Honestly, I rather like 'blog' and 'blogger'. It's a name that is still being defined by those bearing it. So far, I like the definition.

I'm afraid I'm going to hav... (Below threshold)

I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree. I studied journalism in college, spent two years writing for the college paper and, eventualy, one year as editor - even had a cool office, darkroom, copy room and sizeable volunteer staff. It was a wonderful experience working in the trenches of the Fourth Estate - oh yeah, and having the office on campus used to get me laid. Sometime I'll have to tell you how I made the"real" headlines of the state and local press for supporting the first admendment rights of some from the far right against a faculty and advisors from the left. That's when I first learned the true agenda of the left.

In the end I won, whatever that means, with the support of a conservative college president and a local mayor. Long smoke-filled backroom story. The faculty advisor was fired, etc. But I digress.

Is George Will a journalist? Robert Novak? Ann (wrap yer legs around me) Coulter? Malkin?


1.One whose occupation is journalism.

2.One who keeps a journal.

I have every credential required to be employed as a professional journalist. So do you. Actually, I've written freelance for both weekly and daily papers here and there. You are a journalist, pure and simple. And there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The only concession I would grant is our medium. I would accept e-journalist, nothing more and nothing less.

How you choose to ply your craft and pay your bills are distinctions, not defining criteria. You can be an Inquirer, or an Enquirer. A columnist, or news hound. You can be accurate, or sloppy. Those distinctions are as applicable and appropriate for new journalism, as well as old. The question is not "What are you?" The question is, "What do YOU want to be?"

Are the fellows at Powerline journalists? If not, why not? Do they write differently when they do magazine articles? Maybe that's the spotted PJ's and stripes are for their "blogs?"

I read here regularly. The only difference between your publication and any other is what you choose it to be. Advertising has already entered this realm. E-journalism is young, underfunded, as is any fledgling enterprise. It will evolve, grow - you will or will not evolve and grow with it. Your choice.

But while you are here, you are every bit a "journalist." Having the freedom to tell someone to "fuck off" if you don't like them doesn't change that simple fact. If anything, it simply supports the principle of freedom that represents one important cornerstone of all good journalism. Truth, honesty, fairness, those are some others. You get to be a journalist by writing. How solid will be your foundation is simply a matter of choice. From all appearances, Wizbang chooses very wisely.

Keep up the good work.

Paul writes: "... at the en... (Below threshold)

Paul writes: "... at the end of the day, its about getting things right."
Amen to that!

I think Wizbang got it right that Hailey's analysis is poor and proves
nothing useful. Nevertheless,

I still think it was reckless for Wizbang to call Hailey "a liar, a fraud,
and a charlatan." Remember: for all of CBS's obvious bias and sloppiness,
they never reported that W is a "liar, a fraud, and a charlatan."

I think it was reckless for Wizbang to encourage his readers to contact
Hailey's department head.

I think Rathergate was reckless for piling on about Hailey "losing his
tenure." (Is Hailey even tenured faculty? He's not a full professor.
Apparently, USU is now [Oct 1, PM] standing in defense of Hailey's work.) I
think another blogger (forget which one) was reckless to imply that Hailey
was a "forger."

I think all the "attaboy" commenters were reckless for accepting Wizbang's
story without a shred of skepticism or independent investigation. Why
didn't they ask questions like 1) where was the archived doc? 2) why did
Wizbang misrepresent the doc size as 2MB? 3) why did Wizbang have to delay
(to "email"[?!] the doc) in order to FTP it?

I counseled caution, because one of these days a hasty hubristic blogger is
going to find himself on the dirty end of a legal shitstick. Even if that
blogger wins in the end, he's going to regret it.

I saw Wait a Minute's reply... (Below threshold)

I saw Wait a Minute's reply right after mine and came back to respond from my perspective. Sorry, butI dohave to say this. I had red flags going off inmy head while reading the breaking story. There WERE words being throw around a bit quickly that could potentially lead to a lawsuit.

Did you know that bysimply accusing someone of being a "Nazi," for example, you CAN be sued for libel? And you better have a pic of them in lederhosen. Restraint is a good idea when making personal accusations of character, especially if not a public figure. I sometimes worry about some of my writing and wait to get a note from TP telling me my account is hash. Though I am careful.

Calling a source, or potential source, to check a story is fine. Suggesting harrassment is not. I didn't see that if it happened. Freedom without responsibility undercuts legitimacy. As an entrprise in e-journalism, Wizbang may be young, may be inexperienced. I don't know. But it is legitimate IMO.

Open source journalism mean... (Below threshold)

Open source journalism means what exactly to people who have no idea what open source software is?

And Bloggers is known how?? I like the Open Source Journalism tag.

we need to see Tux in a journo outfit :P


Well, my thoughts on this a... (Below threshold)

Well, my thoughts on this are neutral except for one item.....

I really don't want to see any 'open source pajamas'.... reminds me of hospital gowns.

I have to agree with Wait a... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

I have to agree with Wait a Minute, I was worried that our fisking of Professor Photoshop might bite us in the ass.

Many people, myself included, did get linked to Wizbang, read what he had to say, went and read Hailey's analysis, and then started to wonder if we were wrongly calling an idiot a liar. Kind of like throwing rocks at retarded kids. Or moonbats.

I stated as much but added a disclaimer to my comment just in case Hailey was stupid/devious enough to have changed his analysis.

Paul writes about the importance of "getting things right." This applies to us too (and I'm sure he knows this), and means we need to avoid getting caught up in ourselves.

Our society's normal processes of "getting things right" are pretty much broken. More and more people know less and less about anything, no thanks in small part to that large proportion of academics and journalists who are post-modern idiots. They, like all of us, are profoundly ignorant of so many things. However they get caught up in themselves and forget this, and forget how important it is. When you couple that with the post-modern idea that different people can have mutually exclusive, yet equally valid "interpretations" of "fact", you have one big charlie foxtrot.

What do we get out of this?

Someone makes an error out of a profound ignorance that in itself they are, well, ignorant of... they get called on it... and they proceed to say that it doesn't matter anyways, because their "interpretation" is valid. More valid, of course, then all those common people. Obviously...

In the meantime there will still be people who grasp this analysis and run with it, and go to their graves believing it to be gospel.

We have large sections of the population in this nation, and others, that all live on entirely different planets. The idea of "the truth" is losing it's meaning, and I don't even know if "open source journalism" can save it.

hahaha, hey, but if we call... (Below threshold)

hahaha, hey, but if we called ourselves Peer Review Journalists, we could shorten it and refer to ourselves as PJs!

When I had Bill from INDCjo... (Below threshold)

When I had Bill from INDCjournal on my show the other day, I referred to him as a "citizen journalist". He (and you guys) are doing real reporting, but you're not being paid to do it.

I'm not sure that label applies to every blogger, however. I consider the work I do to be journalism, but my blog is just my thoughts and commentary about news and newsmakers.

I like that much better -"p... (Below threshold)

I like that much better -"peer reviewed journalists." You have to admit you guys do better than those that get paid the big bucks; the same goes for all the good ones. When I mention blogging to a computer geek, they have no clue as to what I mean and have never read one - what a loss, what a shame.

What's a pundit??


You're a journalist?! Hav... (Below threshold)

You're a journalist?! Having a computer and being able to type aren't the qualifications; I don't care what your mother says!

Paul,I just turned... (Below threshold)


I just turned CNN on and they were talking to Miles O'Brien out in the desert and he's live blogging from there.

Hardball has HARDBLOGGING. I have not checked out any of these sites BUT the MASS MEDIA IS NOW BLOGGING. Yikes!!


You are not a journalist. Y... (Below threshold)

You are not a journalist. You are someone with a soapbox who now that rathergate is subsiding is looking for a way to keep yourself in the forefront of the online blogging community.

If I am not mistaken your daily hits are probably already down 20%

This is about the dumbest t... (Below threshold)

This is about the dumbest thing I've ever read. Bloggers and their commentators are just a bunch of people sharing information over the web, instead of around the water cooler or the village well. While this has implications for the speed at which ideas can be communicated over wide-areas and for the feedback this provides mainstream journalists, Bloggers are only journalists if they practice journalism. If you don't do investigative reporting and original research, then you're not journalists. Even famous pundits know they're not journalists.

A 17 year-old in his mother's basement with broadband and a bong a peer-reviewed journalist? LOL!

"We are not blo... (Below threshold)
"We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists." - Paul

I'm going to think this through before I really take apart the concept. One thought does occur though:

Don't get too large the head - it makes you way too tempting a target for the more irreverant of your peers.

Not that I'd ever take cheap shots at you for bloviating pretentiously. Ah'm jest sayin, is all. ;)






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