Aug 8, 2008

The Line Between Journalism And Blogging

Vernon Small has kicked off quite a debate. Here is our contribution. The logic is a bit random but we have been interrupted multiple times.

First we remind you what The Hive is:

in terms of the Electoral Finance Act 2007, The Hive is a news media Internet site that is written by, or selected by or with the authority of, the editor or person responsible for the Internet site solely for the purpose of informing, enlightening, or entertaining our readers.

Queen Bee edits The Hive, but two professional journalists are regularly contributing to The Hive's content. They are doing so in a personal (ie non-paid) capacity. A number of business people, politicians, lobbyists etc likewise provide content. All involved are non-remunerated as The Hive has no sponsors and generates (by choice) no revenue. For everyone it is a hobby.

Queen Bee does not pretend to be a journalist. And QB could not do some things journalists do. QB could perhaps survive a Labour, National or ACT Party Conference (just) but would not want to be there. QB would not be able to tolerate a NZ First or Green activity. QB would vomit or have an aneurysm after a few minutes. Yet journalists are assigned to said gatherings and survive pretty much intact. This is the difference between a blogger and a professional journalist. QB supports no party, but has very firm views on policy and gets very angry if stupid policy is being proposed. Journalists are made of sterner stuff. Colin James does not vote. QB's favorite act every three years is going to the polling booth to exercise the democratic right.

Money is not the issue. QB has been paid (paid quite well) to write regular columns for international publications, and is right now writing for one specialist publication on a specialist topic and being remunerated for this. QB was last election paid once for a political commentary but donated it to charity. QB is a commentator and analyst, not a journalist. There is a difference. To us the difference is clear. We hope you agree.

Circulation is a bit of an issue as far as business and political parties are concerned. Kiwiblog has a relatively huge readership. A smart business or political party would want Farrar there at their event. His readership is bigger than some well respected MSM publications. Our own readership this week (Monday-Thursday) has been 1,000 plus a day. It has regularly been 800 plus Monday-Friday. Smart businesses and organisations take note of this . They also take note of the quality of the readership. NZX and others invite us to press conferences and send us their media statements. This is smart business practice. (For the record we don't attend in The Hive capacity though could be there wearing another hat).

We frankly don't mind any blogger brave enough to attend a political convention or conference being allowed to accredit and attend such an event. If the MSM feel offended by their presence then why not set up a separate blogger section?

We have been observing international development on the blog front closely. We are a bit behind the times here in NZ but the blogs are growing in influence here too. If the MSM don't respond (and we stress that the response is in most cases welcome and impressive) they could find themselves left in the dust. Feel free to be precious about your Press Gallery accreditation. As far as we are concerned you are welcome to keep it. We can't think of one advantage it confers.