“Blogging is the new journalism”

In response to Wednesday’s expulsion of me and Josh from a Dino Rossi press conference, I wondered out loud if our friends (and enemies) in the traditional media would stand up for the rights of their new media colleagues:

I don’t know if there are some in the old press who applaud these efforts to exclude new media journalists like me, but they certainly don’t seem to be standing up for us.

Well, it turns out that at least a few print journalists have stood up, and I want to thank them for their support.

Over at The Stranger, Josh’s former co-worker Erica C. Barnett slogged on Josh’s plight, remarking that she’s “still pissed” about the one time she was asked to leave a press conference.  She offers this sage advice:

People who work with the media need to learn that you get better press by letting the media (even the partisan media!) in than by excluding them.

Meanwhile, Bellingham Herald political reporter Sam Taylor offers his own defense of both me and my medium:

I would strongly wager that, while my page views are pretty dang big here in our area, Goldy’s make mine look like a tiny, female Chinese gymnast (of legal age to compete, of course) in a Sumo wrestling contest. Blogging is the new journalism, my friends. Mark my words.

But I was most heartened to read Seattle Times editorial columnist Bruce Ramsey’s first hand account of the incident, not only vouching for my description of the events, but defending my media credentials, partisan or not:

Being an employee of a big paper, I have hardly ever had that happen to me. The one time I remember was in the 90s as a business reporter being denied entry to a stockholder meeting of the Fisher Companies, which was then under SEC rules a public company. I was furious–shaking–and a good deal less polite to the Fisher vice-president who kicked me out than Goldy was yesterday–and I don’t regret anything I said to that Fisher man, or about him, thereafter. My experience wasn’t exactly the same as Goldy’s, but close enough.

Obviously, a lawyer holding a press conference in his private offices may let in who he likes and exclude who he likes. It may well be, as Goldy suspects, that they excluded him because he’s anti-Rossi, and because his style of expression is less than genteel. Maybe even the name of his blog has something to do with it. But for the record: Goldy is part of the media in Seattle. People who follow politics know who he is. They read him. Whether Feit is paid, or how much he is paid, is beside the point. We are not media because of how much money we make, or that we make any at all. We are media because of what we do.

Goldy, or his man Feit, should have been let in.

As Ramsey clearly explained in the comment thread of a previous post, the Times op/ed page is opinion, and as such “is not bound to be evenhanded”… and I’d argue that yesterday’s Rossi apologia certainly wasn’t.  That was the sort of partisan editorial the Rossi campaign wanted and expected from the Times, and that is the sort of partisan editorial Ramsey delivered.  There is this convenient fiction that journalistic partisanship is a vice unique to the blogs, and that it inherently diminishes our credibility, but in this particular race it is fair to suggest that Ramsey and I are equally partisan… only in favor of different candidates.

In the end, Josh and I were excluded from the press conference not because we are partisans, and not because we are bloggers, but because Rossi’s handlers feared the difficult questions we might ask in the presence of a roomful of reporters.  The “partisan blogger” label was just a bullshit excuse.

Four years ago when I first started blogging, I didn’t really consider myself a journalist either, but over time both my blog and my thinking has evolved.  As Ramsey unequivocably argues, we are a legitimate part of the media, and it is in the public interest that we be treated that way. For as more and more traditional media moves online while blogs like mine expand the quantity and quality of our coverage, the line between the two will continue to blur, making any effort to ghettoize mere bloggers nothing more than a convenient excuse to deny access to journalists who produce unflattering coverage.

And when subjects get to pick and choose the reporters covering them rather than the other way around, our democracy loses.

Comments

  1. 5

    correctnotright spews:

    Speaking of freedom of the press – here is Sarah Palin on the first amendment. This woman is so completely ignorant of the basics in government that it is scary:

    If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin said, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

    Here is the real first amendment. The government – not the press – is not allowed to abridge individual speech. The press is actually EXERCISING their right to free speech under the first amenedment by criticizing her pathetic slanders against Obama. She has NO concept of the first amendment – she is truly a dangerous and ignorant person.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  2. 6

    correctnotright spews:

    @4: yup – I watched that video – gosh it was so informatives seeing Obama in fake terorist clothing – is that all you sad sacks have?

    Your wonderful “patriot” Sarah Palin doesn’t even know how the US government works or what the first amendment says.

    That says it all – the ignorant and stupid party and they don’t care.

  3. 8

    Toby spews:

    @5

    The Democrats have already said they will stop free speech in America.

    She is correct the media is setting the path.

  4. 11

    Rujax! spews:

    Not only are Dems gonna stop free speech…but we’re gonna JAIL republicans and FORCE them to have gay marrried sex with illegal aliens.

    And watch NOTHING but Barbara Streisand movies.

    LOOK OUT!!!

  5. 13

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    So Goldy, where do you draw the line?
    Seriously, any asshole can say he or she is a Journalist….you have proven that point.

    Here is a thought…ALL journalists must be members of the Society of Professional Journalists and subscribe to their Code of Ethics:

    [Deleted — see HA Comment Policy]

  6. 15

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    The fact is Goldy, you in NO WAY intend to uphold the Society of Professional Journalist Code of Ethics. You are a Partisan Hack by your very own admission…and a vulgar, foul-mouthed one at that.

    Your definition of “Journalism” is waaaay too fluid. It’s simply not journalism. It has ZERO ethics.

    Grow up Goldy…or try and be a real “JOURNALIST”! Pretty difficult when you are a diehard idealogue.

  7. 20

    Rujax! spews:

    Aren’t you gonna LOVE it when theese assholes are all whining and crying like the little bullies that get their faces smashed in the mud on the playground. Candy-ass little pussies.

  8. 23

    ArtFart spews:

    The wording of the First Amendment doesn’t say “freedom for journalists”. It says “Freedom of the press”. That would imply simply the freedom to publish, not only of news but of opinion, satire, religious dogma, screwball theory and anything else except plagiarism (although the framers probably didn’t anticipate our present-day perversion of copyright) and libel which causes demonstrable harm.

    If anything in print were required to meet the standards Cyn enumerates above, The Federalist Papers would never have seen the light of day.

    Now, responsible journalism, which I certainly feel is an absolute necessity in a free society, does require such a set of standards, and frankly, the “blogosphere” does have a way to go to achieve that. It damn well better, too, because as print newspapers slowly die, and broadcast “journalism” devolves into mere pabulum designed to fill space between commercials, we’re damned well going to need a viable, online version of the Fourth Estate.

  9. 24

    ArtFart spews:

    Frankly there’s a simple reason why Josh and Goldy get booted out of partisan events and the likes of Joel Connelly don’t, and that’s the perceived consequences of doing so. If Joel gets the bum’s rush, tens of thousands of people will read about it the next morning. I don’t know whether that many people read this site every day, but neither the leadership of either party nor the likes of the BIAW perceive it to be so.

  10. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Well, maybe Ramsey is good for something after all, though he shouldn’t try to play lawyer. And, for once, Mr. Cynical actually said something coherent that makes since. One of the things that separates professionals from amateurs is the existence of an ethical code they adhere to.

  11. 26

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    AF–
    Therein lies the problem…responsible journalism.
    Is Goldy a responsible journalist??
    Absolutely not.
    He even admits it!!

    AF, if the doors were opened at News/Press Conferences to any asshole with a Blog, it would be absolute chaos. Nothing good would come of it.

    Goldy wants the impossible…to be a clear, foul-mouthed partisan hack with zero ethics AND to be recognized as a Journalist.

    You KLOWNS obviously enjoy Goldy’s hot rhetoric..but you also enjoy taking it up the ass. Enjoying something doesn’t mean it’s right.

  12. 27

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Rog–@25

    Thanks!…I think.

    Goldy loves the freedom of no ethics but wants the credibility of a professional journalist.
    He is whining just like Darcy Burner.

    Goldy, a hope you inadvertently impregnate a whining Jewish American Princess!
    Naaaah, I wouldn’t even wish that on Goldy.

  13. 28

    rhp6033 spews:

    If we are going to limit access to politicians and news events to “responsible journalists”, then who gets to decide? I’m sure Cynical and others of his stripe would limit it to Fox News, and probably even limit it further to specific people within Fox News.

    What if Hannity, Limbaugh, and Coulter tried to walk into Rossi’s press conference? Would they have been allowed to stay? Of course they would. But they are hardly more “professional journalists”, in terms of objectivity, than Goldy is.

    So I say if Rossi, a candidate for the highest office in the state, want’s to exclude journalists of whatever type to his press conferences, then he’s got the right to do so.

    But those journalists also have the right to presume that the purpose for their exclusion was because the candidate didn’t want them to report about what happened there, and to report it accordingly. As more of Goldy’s fellow bloggers become a primary information source, the candidate will have an increasingly diminished amount of favorable publicity.

    I would wager that by the next governor’s race, the importance of the blogosphere might be greater than the mainstream papers together.

    And the journalists who ARE admitted should ask wonder if they are being admitted only because the Rossi campaign thinks they are sufficiently pliable that it is safe for them to be there? Soon NOT getting kicked out of a candidate’s press conference might become professional suicide, as it marks the journalist as being “in the pocket” of the candidate.

  14. 29

    YellowPup spews:

    Goldy: Looking at Bruce Ramsey’s comment, isn’t this an example of what you always say about how the Times uses national/presidential endorsements as a fig leaf for a conservative local agenda?

    the editorial column of the Times is an opinion section. It is not bound to be evenhanded. Nor is does it always side with wealth. Our opposition to the estate tax does not stop us from endorsing Barack Obama, nor did it stop us from endorsing John Kerry four years ago. Nor is our support of the liberal minority on the FCC in any way a support of wealth.

    Local, personal, wealth as opposed to national?

  15. 30

    my two cents worth spews:

    Perhaps if the “mainstream” media were following an ethical code they would consider stating when they get their information through special privilege type of events or access, such as an invitation only press conference.

    I can’t help but think that news reporting can become incomplete when reporters are hesitant to ask questions because they are afraid they may be denied access.

    The argument about chaos at news conferences may have some validity except that, partisan or not, Goldy and HA have certainly earned their credentials by publishing to wide range of readers of vastly different viewpoints. This is proven by the range of comments posted above.

    In addition how can the comment be made about journalistic integrity when you have whole networks, such as Fox News, who constantly blur the lines of partisanship.

    It’s up to us, as the consumer, to determine the credibility of the reporter, something much easier when it is declared like Goldy does than a “mainstream” journalist hiding behind a large newspaper.

    No one that reads HA and doesn’t know where they stand on certain issues, but partisanship doesn’t invalidate the information, especially when cross referenced with other sources.

  16. 31

    Rujax! spews:

    Sorry Luigi, you were right…I was wrong.

    The Obama campaign bounced the “Moonie Cult” Washington Times from the campaign plane.

    Bwaaaaa haaaa haaaa…that’s rich…bwaaaaa haaa haaa!!!

  17. 32

    ArtFart spews:

    “AF, if the doors were opened at News/Press Conferences to any asshole with a Blog, it would be absolute chaos. Nothing good would come of it.”

    Why?

    Is this because of the assumption that they might be disruptive? Granted everyone in attendance ought to be respectful. No indication that Goldy and Josh were doing anything but standing there taking notes.

    Is it because they might be expected to misrepresent what was presented? That would seem to indicate that the hosts of the event had their own doubts about the credibility of what they were presenting. If not, let ‘em in–they might learn something.

    There may be a valid issue in terms of the cost of the space and providing room preferentially to those correspondence whose output would see the widest audience. I haven’t seen any indication that space was so tight that Goldy and Josh being there would have excluded anyone else.

    Now, on the other hand, if care was being taken to admit members of the press who’d be expected to report in a sympathetic manner, and exclude whose who might not…that explanation I’d be willing to believe. Mind you, that’s not illegal or anything. Is it fair–not only to the correspondents involved but to the general public? Nope.

  18. 33

    rhp6033 spews:

    I should also point out that as newspapers add comment sections to their stories, and their columnists run regular blogs themselves under cover of their newspaper’s masthead, the difference between a journalist hired by a newspaper and one who owns or works for a blog, is becoming even less distinct.

    I love to read David Horsey’s cartoons in the P.I., but I have to crack up when virtually every day some wingnut posts on the comment thread online that he is “showing his bias”, and demand that he spend equal time skewering the Democrats. Obviously, those people have no idea of what an editorial cartoonist does, or they just don’t care.

    Their job (and I suspect it is indeed a job, paid for as part of an organized political campaign) is to quickly hit assigned web sites, blogs, and comment threads each morning and post at the top of the thread the Republican Daily Talking Points. For example, our old friend Klake is showing up frequently on Horsey’s comment pages.

  19. 34

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    AF & rhp–
    Gimmee a break.
    You KLOWNS actually believe Goldy & Josh as Journalists??
    You guys are nuts.
    They have no ethics and are admitted political hacks.
    Get realistic.
    They are NOT credible.

  20. 35

    Rujax! spews:

    Cynidumbass–
    Gimmee a break.
    You KLOWNISHLY actually believe Boardman, Blethen & O’Liely as Journalists??
    You are nuts.
    They have no ethics and are admitted political hacks.
    Get realistic.
    They are NOT credible.

  21. 36

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Rujax–
    You keep proving why I put you on my Lunatic list…keep up the bad work.

    Can you imagine telling your family with a straightface that you get your news from the bloggers at HorsesAss.org??

    You are delusional….as always.

  22. 37

    rhp6033 spews:

    HA does a better job of parsing the negative attacks of Republicans than the mainstream media does. By the time somebody asks me about it, I’ve already heard the claim here, the rebuttal by several commentators, and the attempts to refute the rebuttal by Cynical and others. That’s a lot more information than I ever get out of the mainstream media, especially the Seattle papers.

    And if I want to hear the Republican’s take on Democratic attack ads, I need only listen to Dori Monson (or at least, as long as I can stand to do so).

    No, I don’t get all my news from HA. I read several papers online each day. My current reading includes both the Seattle Times and the P.I., the Everett Herald, the L.A. Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and my old hometown paper and an online version of one of the former paper from my hometown. I also check out MSNBC and AOL News daily, and Newsweek at least once a week. I subscribe to industry publications which I read in hard copy and online, and I get e-mail alerts to articles relating to my industry.

  23. 38

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    rhp–
    You are a mighty busy reader.
    When do you have time to digest, sort thru and think with all that info you have crammed into that teeny-tiny pea-brain?
    Must be an enormous challenge.
    LOL