I’ve said it before and I will say it again: One of the first steps for newspapers in saving themselves from destruction is getting over their pride. This anecdote about Google alerts is a perfect example. While most reporters only had alerts on traditional news, Gary Fineout also kept his eye on blogs. Most “traditional” journalists look down upon bloggers and so-called “citizen journalists.” Many reporters and editors don’t take information from blogs seriously because they don’t consider them real journalism. But with the Internet, the definition of journalism is changing, the definition of a journalist is becoming a lot more ambiguous. Gary Fineout understood that bloggers are journalists, too, and often times their information is just as valuable as a traditional newspaper’s. By accepting blogs as legitimate sources of news, he was able to get a story other reporters weren’t.
However, this doesn’t mean journalists should accept everything they see on blogs as fact. I do think there is legitimacy in the natural mistrust of nontraditional forms of media. Many times, these writers don’t have professional training, nor the sense of news judgment that a professional, trained journalist has. Sometimes, they just want to have as much traffic on their page as possible, regardless of whether or not the information they publish is 100 percent accurate. Although newspapers should be open to blogs, they should not be too quick to accept their information as fact. They should use their own fact-finding skills to double check the information they get from blogs.