Dan Rather: “Actually, Blogging CAN Be Journalism”

Filed as News on March 15, 2007 4:43 am

Dan Rather was recently interviewed at South By South West, an interactive media extravaganza, where he was asked his opinions on bloggers and blogging.  Mr. Rather, ever the southern gentleman, had a few interesting things to say about blogging, in spite of the role it played in his downfall as a CBS correspondent and lead anchor.

For those not quite in the know, Mr. Rather’s career ended on a disappointing note after he reported on a story that was later fact-checked as false by bloggers.  Sure enough, once the mainstream media got wind of it, it led to a media frenzy which led to Dan Rather quitting his job at CBS.  You might think Mr. Rather was soured on bloggers, but in fact, he makes a case for blogs as legitimate sources of news, and blogging as a legitimate form of journalism.

Anybody who blogs, who does real reporting, which is to say, make telephone calls, go interview people, go talk to people, in a spirit of independence…and (tries) to do journalism with integrity, I would consider a journalist.

Furthermore, for all the columnists out there who do opinion pieces (yours truly included), he has a few opinions on that as well:

Of course there are an increasing number of bloggers now who by any definition are reporters, or journalists. There are some others who in my opinion would fit into a gray area. They may do good reporting, but they mix in their own opinion, their own point of view, without clearly signifying the difference. Now that’s not a kind of journalism that I practice. It’s not one that I’m going to damn either.

No matter what your political persuasion, blogging as a tool for futher dialogue, further conversation, and as a push for further accountability is nothing but a good thing.  While blogging will always have its share of detractors, I find Dan Rather’s thoughts in this interview interesting, because they really give an idea of what blogging — for those who are interested in blogging as a form of journalism — can and should be.

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  1. By Stephen Glauser posted on March 15, 2007 at 8:52 am
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    Well thanks Mr. Rather, now that we have officially been endorsed as journalists by another, we have made it!

    In all seriousness though, this is great news for bloggers. While the statement itself doesn’t mean much, it just goes to show how far we’ve come.

  2. By Dave C. posted on March 15, 2007 at 7:09 pm
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    This is slightly off-topic, but you mentioned SXSW being “an interactive media extravaganza”. Actually, the interactive is only one portion of SXSW and in fact the largest portions are the music and film festivals. The interactive was only added a few years ago.

  3. Dan Rather: “Speak truth to power”March 22, 2007 at 9:26 am