At the International Food Blogger Conference (organized by my work, hence my attendance), I had the chance to pose a question (via the live chat- I’m really shy, ok?) to former PI writer Rebekah Denn on the new tax break for newspapers that has some bloggers up in arms. Rebekah currently blogs because she wants to keep her PI readers and because she just loves to write. She was clear to (diplomatically) say that she is no expert on the subject, but the way “we think about newspapers has got to change” and while tax break does not extend to online journalism, online journalism is indeed a legitimate source of news. Her blog at the PI was “where the real work got done” and contained just as much or more info as what was published in the paper. Her message (despite some hesitation and beating around the bush): this model of news on paper does not make sense.

The topic of blogs vs. the printed press actually (not surprisingly) came up a few times. The Food Blogger Code of Ethics, which was developed recently by a group of print journalists/bloggers, is very controversial in the food blogging world (as evidenced by an alternative food blogger code of ethics).  Some bloggers want to be seen as legitimate journalists, while others see their blog as a form of uncensored self-expression and do not want to conform to a proscribed code.   The Washington Post‘s food blogger Kim O’Donnel said that if you write a blog, even if it is unpaid or just a hobby, your views are out in the public and you should respect that. Another panelist, MCDM’s own Kraig Baker, said that whether or not you consider yourself a journalist, you are still an influencer and must be consistent with your actions. Plus, as we discussed in class, everyone is subject to defamation. The ultimate consensus is that newspapers have norms and standards that took centuries to develop and blogging will catch up soon.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Boston Globe presents compelling arguments as to why newspapers can never go away. For one, if you slam down a blog on someone’s desk to make a dramatic point, you are probably going to break your laptop.

Advertisements