Are bloggers journalists? Or more specifically, are blogging professors journalists?
I hadn’t given this question much thought until someone overheard me having a work conversation at Panera and thought I was an investigative journalist. (I wasn’t talking about journalism or even the news, I was explaining some mathematical modeling issues to a layperson). My response to the journalist question was that I was a professor. Now I wonder if I should have described myself as a blogging professor.
I don’t think of myself as a journalist, even though a blog has the same ability to host new news stories as do newspapers. I realize that blogs mostly regurgitate news that has already been reported, but bloggers increasingly break new news stories. It’s great to be a part of that. I try to write about new news stories (e.g., posts about conferences) and stories that fall outside of regular journalism outlets (e.g., math models of zombies, vampire populations, and my morning cup of joe). Do bloggers deserve the same press protections as journalists? I suppose it depends on what kind of blogger you are. I hope I never need press protection.
A recent survey reports that 52% of bloggers consider themselves journalists. The number continues to grow because “it’s cool to be a journalist.” But it’s even cooler to be a professor of operations research. At least I think so. So I’ll continue to see myself as a professor who blogs, and I’ll consider blogging to be outreach and good nerdy fun rather than journalism.