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Peter Beinart has been at The New Republic since 1999, where he is a journalist and editor-at-large. He is also a contributor to Time magazine and writes a monthly column[…]

Writing should be judged by its quality, not its venue.

Questions: Are bloggers journalists?

Some are and some aren’t. I mean blogging is . . . is really simply just . . . Writing on a computer screen is . . . is . . . is . . . is . . . is just a mode of transmission. It’s like saying, “Are all people who write on paper journalists?” No. It depends how they write, how they do their research, and then . . . and then what they write, and what perspective they take on what they’re doing. I think that journalism is not necessarily easy to define; but I think . . . and it’s certainly . . . I don’t think it has to be defined by objectivity. There are journalists who are not objective; but I do think it involves . . . it . . . it . . . It involves some element, I think . . . It has grown to evolve . . . It wasn’t always historically the case, but it is in our time in recent . . . in recent times grown to involve some notion of independence; some idea that your opinions are independently arrived at, and not controlled by . . . by larger interests, whether those be a political party, or . . . or a corporation that is in a crude . . . that could be crudely paying you, or just that you could see yourself so aligned with that you couldn’t be thinking for yourself. I think that’s very . . . that’s one important element. The other element is some degree of research so that you . . . that you’re not simply writing whatever comes off the top of your head, but you’re either talking to people or your reading things. You’re doing . . . you’re doing . . . in some way trying to assimilate information, and transmit that information, process that information from outside. So I think those are two things that can help to think about what it would mean for people to be journalists in this Internet age.

Recorded on: 9/12/07






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