Bloggers vs. Reporters: Research

March 19, 2007

Gracie Passette Interview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nicki Arnold @ 9:13 am


Passette, Gracie. Personal interview. 17 Feb. 2007.


“Traditional media has become complacent and has become content with the way things are done.”

“Press is press.”

“Credibility is honesty.”

“A person’s name isn’t a credibility issue.”

Summary & Review

Gracie has been a blogger for 3+ years (it’s hard to estimate).

Independent Media:
Gracie feels that being an independent, non-official media person isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even though “traditional media says we’re nothing,” she says it depends on what you think makes a person authoritative. She is big on passion, and feels that bloggers have much more passion for their work than most reporters nowadays.
“Traditional media has become complacent and has become content with the way things are done,” because “this is how we [traditional media] do things.” A “bias-free” story is next to impossible for a writer to do because “news stories are not like recipes. They need human interpretation that will be biased.” Gracie says that this has lead news stories to become a boiled-down nothingness that don’t make her feel anything. The passion that used to be apparent in reporting is now absent, and when the writers don’t care about the story they’re writing, the readers won’t either. Gracie feels that part of the reason people don’t care about the war in Iraq, neither do readers. Bloggers, on the other hand, are dedicated to one purpose and one topic that they care about this. Because they’re so passionate about this certain topic, they are dedicated to conveying truthful information by researching and fact-checking. The best bloggers are those that share their expertise and follow something because it’s their passion and they enjoy it, not because any editor told them to. Whereas newspaper journalists attempt to leave their personal opinions and biases out of their articles, bloggers let their bias flow freely and this gives the reader a chance to know the individual.

Should bloggers and journalists have the same rights?
Gracie believes that bloggers should be able to get press passes just the same way that reporters do, but within reason. For example, a person who blogs about her cats shouldn’t have access to the red carpet, but a celebrity blogger should be able to get that press pass. Gracies says “press is press.” Everyone deserves 1st amendment rights, even if the “old white men in suits” don’t give as much of a voice or as much credibility to bloggers.

How does a blogger gain credibility?
A blogger’s weight must be proven through credible posts and the like. Once a blogger is asked to be interviewed, to review books or has a large readership, for example, then the blogger begins to gain credibility. As a blogs voice rises, the blogger makes more money and therefore becomes more credible. Credibility comes down to how researched and passionate a particular post is. Networking also plays a big part in how respected your blog is. If you can get your blog on technorati and get other people, especially bloggers, to respect you for what you’re doing, then your credibility begins to grow. Bloggers start to lose credibility as they talk about silly personal things that are irrelevant to their blog topic. However, Gracie says she believes readers like when people get a little personal and admit their flaws because “credibility is honesty.”
As far as other people’s perception of blog credibility, Gracie says she has noticed that younger people are more accepting and believe credibility is basically the same between a blog and a newspaper. Older people are slightly more resistant, but as more bloggers get out there, there will be more acceptances by older people.

Will newspapers ever become obsolete?
Gracie herself is a huge fan of paper because of the whole experience of it. She says many people enjoy reading the paper at breakfast or curling up on the couch with a book or the paper and prefer that to staring at a computer screen. Newspapers have been losing popularity lately, though, and Gracie says they blame it on the internet and reading less. Gracie claims, however, that the internet has increased how much people read and that people prefer to read blogs on the internet because they prefer that writing style. If newspaper reporters began to write like bloggers do (with passion, character and voice) their popularity would increase.

Does having a bias reduce the credibility?
The simple answer is no; FOX news is an example of a successful network with a stated bias. When you go to a blog, Gracie says, you know that there is a bias, but you read it anyway. Obviously, if you keep reading (and, if you look at the growing popularity of blogs, people are reading), the bias is not turning you away from the blog. Humans have emotions are stories aren’t just the facts, so Gracie says a bias is almost inevitable.

Does anonymity hurt the blogger?
Authenticity doesn’t come from a name, Gracie stated, but it comes from what you do. Bloggers have to preserve their character (as in integrity, not cartoon) to preserve in their blog, so it’s important to maintain identity under a certain pen name. Plus, with the accessibility of the internet (in the fact that everybody online has an email address and can be contacted), “a person’s name isn’t a credibility issue.” Anonymity might even allow a blogger to be more open and honest, because the freedom of anonymity lets the author review something without much regard to the person’s feelings. Conversely, a reviewer who can’t be contacted may be intentionally crueler than a “real” person you could write to/contact.

Blog ethics:
There are ethics in the blogosphere of being honest. Gracie will tell her friends/fellow bloggers when they don’t credit something properly because artists deserve credit where credit is due. Credibility is lost when a blogger doesn’t credit, so in order to be respected, bloggers should be citing sources. Gracie says, though, that it’s mostly about common sense and being a good person.


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