Journalism's blog shame

After two decades, why are so many journalists so wary of the word “blog”?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Jeff Jarvis points out that Semafor's Ben Smith is ashamed of his roots:

"That's kind of embarrassing to say, that I was a blogger." - denying his heritage on Morning Joe.

— Jeff (Gutenberg Parenthesis) Jarvis ( May 7, 2024 at 11:41

Smith ran three political blogs between 2004 and 2006, before moving to Politico and then onwards, before landing at Buzzfeed.

Dave Winer, one of the blogging pioneers, is not impressed:

I didn’t know he had been a blogger. So my respect for him went up dramatically in an instant, and in another instant, plummeted. What’s wrong with people?

I'm frankly amazed that journalism still has such an uncomfortable relationship with the idea of bloggers and blogging 25 years into the form's existence. Some news sites that used to run and host blogs themselves are so wary of the word that they use “live file” rather than “live blog” to describe what is known as, well, liveblogging.

You can do journalism on a blog

And yet, bloggers are still doing some great journalism. As Charles Arthur pointed out in his newsletter, the Where's Your Ed At Substack (a blog in effect) is doing some great investigation. For example, they revealed that the founder of the Rabbit AI device was, only a few short months ago, promoting a “next generation” NFT project — that never materialised:

Rabbit Holed
Thank you to Emily Shepherd for her hard work reporting parts of this story, as well as her assistance clarifying details related to GAMA and finding company documents related to Rabbit and Cyber Manufacture. In November 2021, a company called Cyber Manufacture Co raised $6 million for its “Next Generation

A classic crypto to AI shift… And this is hard on the heels of the Google story I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

As Arthur put it:

[…] Zitron (with Shepherd) is really doing some stellar journalism.

Judge the work, not the medium, folks. You can do great journalism on the web, in print newspapers, in magazine, on podcasts, in newsletters and, yes, on blogs. Get over the shame.


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.