Phil Gyford


Friday 24 October 2008

PreviousIndexNext Apophenia: in defense of BoingBoing (or why i'm not a journalist)

Zephoria - Sometimes Boing Boing points. Sometimes the posters write original material to make some point. Sure, BBers can point to things all they want - there are no facts to check in that action. But when they write original material, particularly if they’re encouraging people to, say, kick up a fuss about a particular topic, I think they have a responsibility to have made sure they know what they’re talking about. Sometimes they only think they do and it has to be corrected later.

Yes, I am talking about an idealistic version of journalism. But just because journalism doesn’t always live up to those ideals, it doesn’t mean they should be cast aside. No, I don’t trust everything I read in the papers, but in a good paper I’ll trust that most of the facts have a basis in truth. I don’t trust Boing Boing (to stick with the same example).

And, once more, I’m *not* trying to say webloggers are journalists. I’m simply saying that when they’re communicating with huge numbers of people they have a responsibility for being sure of what they’re saying, particularly if they’re trying to persuade those people to take a particular action.

Of course plenty of weblogs, like print publications, are going to be biased and inaccurate, and always will be. I think the reason that Boing Boing has sprung to mind as my example in all this is that it would (rightly) be among the first to point the finger at old media publications who tell lies. Let he is without sin, and all that.

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