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My Two Cents

September 4, 2010

A lot of people have weighed in on the MSM v. Blogger debate. I majored in communication in my undergraduate studies, and journalism classes were part of my major. The main thing I took from those classes is that journalism should be free from bias or even the appearance of bias. “Journalists” should not put their own opinion into a news piece, otherwise what they write is no longer true journalism. What gets me is when I read a piece of so-called “journalism”, and it is laced with the writer’s opinion. If I want opinion, I read blogs. I turn to MSM to get facts and news the way I learned it should be written. The only place where opinions belong is in editorials, columns (so long as the writer clearly identifies it as opinion), and, yes, in blogs.

Avoiding the appearance of bias is important, too. The other night, watching the Bills play the Lions, the broadcast team was joined by the “lead journalist” for the Bills‘ website. It makes sense that a website would have a lead content writer, providing info about the subject of the website. It makes even more sense for a sports team to have a lead content writer covering the team and providing fans with an inside look at the team. But that writer is being paid by the team, and that writer is not a “journalist”. Journalists are those who get paid by outside news publications to cover the team. If they’re getting paid by the team they’re writing for, it’s not journalism.

I started a blog because I wanted to share my opinion, not because I want to gain access to the Sabres‘ press box. I have no desire to be a journalist- I just want to write. And that’s what blogs are for. So, MSM writers, go ahead and call yourself journalists- just as long as you don’t show bias. Bloggers, continue writing whatever you want.

(Completely on a different subject, I’m watching MLB Network right now, and they’re covering the Nyjer Morgan fight/suspension. Here’s the quote they have from Morgan on the suspension: “Man, they threw the book at me. What did I do? I feel I haven’t done anything. They are blowing this way out of proportion because I’m a hard-nosed player…I don’t understand what I did wrong to get an 8-game suspension. They make it seem like I’m Mike Tyson.” You started a fight, and you play baseball, not hockey. That’s why you got suspended. They came down hard on others involved in the fight, too- you got a longer suspension because you started it. But, I want to thank you for bringing some fighting action to my currently hockey-less days. Just don’t whine about the suspension.)

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