On Accountability

Credibility and accountability were central to the Journalism and Blogging conference I attended Friday and Saturday at the Kennedy School. Today, Hugh Hewitt addressed these concepts in the more practical context of trying to sell books:

[O]ne question seemed to me to be on everyone’s minds: “Bloggers aren’t journalists and so they are not accountable, right?” I’ll check a transcript if one is posted when I get back to California, but I think that is pretty much how the question was posed, as opposed to the more neutral: “Are bloggers journalists?”
On both sets I tried to explain blogosphere accountability, and I may have been a touch short with Ms. O’Brien when I pointed out I have been a journalist for 15 years, in television, radio, print, and now text, and that of all the platforms, the blogosphere was the most accountable. The blogosphere has tremendous forces working to assure accuracy and almost instant correction of error, so that the blogosphere is really far more accountable than any of the other platforms. Its opinions are sharp, as are the elbows, but there are very few hidden biases. They are all out in the open.

This is a point we’ve made over and over: The credibility of the blogosphere comes not from a “trust me” attitude which is dependent on credentials and alleged quality control procedures, which all too often fail to function. It is based instead on the practical realities of instant feedback and a vast multiplicity of competing voices and perspectives.


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