The definitions of “blogging,” 2012 edition
posted at 5:20 pm on February 12, 2012 by Jazz Shaw
Another CPAC has come and gone, with the usual collection of fun, confrontation and controversy. And with the final day of activities, yet another Blogger of the Year was honored. (A position which Ed has already enjoyed in the past.) First, I’d like to thank everyone at the Academy who nominated and supported me, and say that it’s really a tremendous, yet humbling honor to…
…what’s that? I didn’t win again?!?! Well, poop. I guess we’ll send it over the actual winner, The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis, who brings up the latest edition of a long running question.
I was honored to have been selected as CPAC’s “blogger of the year” on Saturday.
I’d like to thank CPAC — and everyone who nominated me. And thanks to TheDC for giving me the outlet and support and creative freedom to do this!
Since winning the award, I’ve received a lot of tweets and emails. Most of the feedback has been incredibly positive and supportive. But a few people voiced an interesting opinion that essentially went like this: “Congratulations — but I always envisioned you more as a reporter/journalist than as a blogger.”
I took this as a compliment. But it also gave me pause.
For the record, while I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, I was one of the people who said that to Matt. (Though I’d like to think I was pretty nice about it and so was he. I congratulated him sincerely and think Matt is a terrific guy deserving of all the accolades he reaps.) But he does raise an interesting question in his article. Is Matt Lewis a blogger?
The Daily Caller is clearly not a blog. It’s a news portal. In fact, they draw a clear distinction by having a button in their main navigation menu to go to “the blogs.” But on the other hand, the sub-site, Matt Lewis and the News is obviously built using a blogging application and Matt publishes material there in that fashion. But Matt is a professional, not some pajama clad geek dwelling in his mother’s basement with a laptop. He commits acts of journalism for a living, as we are sometimes wont to say, and he draws a regular paycheck for traveling and reporting on the events of the day. But does the fact that he also publishes short form items in a blog format put a blogger hat on him? That’s his take.
A blogger, in my estimation, is simply someone who sometimes utilizes a blog platform. This might be a professional journalist or a teacher or a high school dropout. What they have in common is the medium, which allows for fast (and often short) online posts, frequently updated, without the bureaucratic burdens of heavy editing.
So by this criteria, anyone who uses a WordPress template or any related species of web publishing software is a blogger. Matt cites some others in this sort of “hybrid” category such as Chris Cillizza, Ezra Klein and… Jennifer Rubin? I suppose that’s where I begin to have some reservations. If the check you receive every payday says The Washington Post on it, it seems a bit of a stretch to say you are a blogger.
But were we to say Matt isn’t a blogger, then were do we draw the line? Just because you are paid to write? Not to stick my big nose into anyone’s business, but Ed Morrissey does this for a living, not a hobby. And if memory serves, he was already getting paid as a full time job to do it when he was awarded the BotY honors. Should we have disqualified Ed for being a “pro” or split his example away from Matt Lewis simply because Hot Air is built entirely on a blogging application platform, rather than a “hybrid” as Lewis describes?
(Yes, for the record, I too am guilty of being paid to write in various spots from time to time, both political and completely unrelated technical items. Hey, you have to pay the bills.)
So who would qualify? There are still some people who continue to perfect the art of getting readers to… HIT THE FREAKING TIP JAR! That seems much more akin to an old fashioned, “singing for your supper” model of operation which should qualify. But still… you are getting paid after a fashion. But if we leave all of those behind, then are the only real bloggers the purists who do something else for a living and just get a free Blogger account and do it in their spare time? What if you sell advertising space on your blog? Your amateur status is once again in danger.
Or is it just a case of… we’re all bloggers now? Discuss.