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“We do not do journalism,” say most bloggers

Two-thirds of bloggers do not think what they are doing is journalism, according to a new survey from Pew reported by Journalism.co.uk. While the information is American, I would expect figures from the UK to be similar.

The biggest reasons given for keeping a blog are creative expression, sharing experiences and staying in touch with friends and family. The Pew Internet and American Life Project research was based on a telephone survey of 233 bloggers and has, the researchers say, “significant limitations”.

However, it provides a useful snapshot of bloggers — predominately young and urban — and their motivations. The largest group, 37%, said they blogged on life and personal experiences. After that came politics and government at 11%. News, at 5%, was a little behind entertainments and sport.

Respondents were asked if they thought their blog was a form of journalism — 34% said “yes” and 65% said “no”. This was probed further with questions about how often they spent extra time verifying facts, whether they quoted others, for permission to use copyright material, linked to original sources or posted correction.

Over half, 56%, often or sometimes, spent extra time trying to verify facts and a very similar proportion linked to original sources. But only 40% often or sometimes quoted other people or media directly.

This does give us some idea of the use of journalistic techniques by bloggers. I wish Pew had also asked how frequently bloggers got someone else to read, comment and correct before posting.

It is a fascinating report which also shows that bloggers are more likely than others to look for news online but their preferences for sources is similar to those of the general internet population. It probably does not real much that we would not guess, but it is good to have research.

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  1. journo21 says

    Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes. Those mentioned in the research who blog as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends have content which is similar to the round robin new year letter. Others, like Guy Fawkes, aspire to journalism. Strong on gossip, assertion and provocative comment with little evidence of fact checking. Not the kind of journalism taught in journalism schools. But it is quite similar to much of tabloid journalism and some of the personal columns in the heavies.