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Nick Lemann is the Dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism and a former New Yorker staff writer. While at Harvard – where he  graduated in 1976 –  Lemann[…]

Lemann sees bloggers as tapping into a very old tradition.

Nicholas Lemann: Yeah. I mean I don’t wanna get into that one, this who is and who isn’t a journalist. I mean basically we’re not a licensed profession. We don’t have to decide . . . Anyone who says he or she is a journalist is a journalist as far as I’m concerned. The person who does the horoscope for the newspaper is a journalist. The person who does the comic strip is a journalist. You know I really don’t wanna get all kind of huffy about saying, “This person is a journalist. This person is not a journalist.” The distinction with the difference to me is who goes out and does original news gathering? And you know most bloggers don’t. And the thing I would like to call the bloggers on is their claim that by virtue of sitting at home, you know, searching the Internet they are doing meaningful, original reporting; that should rank on a level with a reporter who goes on site and talks to people and sees it with his own eyes. And I don’t think that’s fair, but I don’t wanna say “No, bloggers are not journalists.” Journalism began, arguably, with people very much like bloggers – pamphleteers and other purveyors of individual opinion. I wouldn’t even call them quasi journalists. I would just call them journalists, but I would not call them reporters. They’re columnists basically.


Recorded on: 11/30/07