Blogging has terrified mainstream media for a while now. Journalists want to know if blogs are going to degrade their profession, open up new possibilities or otherwise challenge their authority. This also means that whenever the press writes about blogs, one must critically consider what biases are embedded in their reporting. This morning, the NYTimes took their bias to the headlines:

Web Diarists Are Now Official Members of Convention Press Corps
As i’ve written before, blogging is rhetorically situated between journalism and diarying. Most often, people label blogging as one or the other in order to degrade it. The NYTimes pulled this act today because they have a professional interest in portraying convention bloggers as “low-brow” and unworthy of reading, while the NYTimes will present the real “high-brow” convention story. By framing bloggers as diarists, the NYTimes is demanding that the reader see blogs as petty, childish and self-absorbed. They further perpetuate this view by pasting a picture of a youth on the front of the article to suggest that bloggers are all inexperienced and naive, further implying that their reports will not have the value of the more “adult” perspective of “real” journalists.

The entire spin of the article focuses on how bloggers are like children in a candy store – naive, inexperienced and overwhelmed by what is now available to them. The article focuses on the minutia of blogging, emphasizing that bloggers won’t really cover the real issues, but provide the “low-brow” gossip. (I somehow suspect that the NYTimes is far more likely to cover what various attendees are wearing than the bloggers.) The article does proceed to share its stance on bloggers through the voice of one subject: “I think that bloggers have put the issue of professionalism under attack.” (Not Jason Blair?)

I am horrified by this article. Not only does the NYTimes reveal their naiveté about blogging, but they use their lack of clarity to demean a practice that they perceive as threatening. No wonder their professionalism is under attack.

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