Blogversation 1

Evan Dawson of 13 WHAM has asked a few area bloggers to join in a "blogversation".  Evan blogs at the 13WHAM blog.  Other participants are Exile at Rochesterturning, and Ontario GOP.  To get the ball rolling, Evan has asked the question:  "Do you consider yourselves journalists?"

There are three things that I do here, only one of which is "journalism" in the old-school sense of the term.

The first, and probably most prevalent, is aggregation, which is a fancy word for linking to things on the Internet and elsewhere that are relevant to the 29th district.  This includes news stories, You Tube videos, and items sent by readers.  In this respect, I'm lucky to have a core group of smart, connected readers who send me news stories and other items that I might otherwise overlook.  As an aggregator, I don't edit much.  If the item is about Randy Kuhl, Eric Massa or the 29th district, and it's factual, it will probably make the blog.   I use the category capabilities of my blog software to label these posts as things like "News", "Video", "Votes" or "Money".

The second is analysis, which is trying to interpret what's been said in the local media and on the Internet.  These posts are generally labeled "analysis" or "speculation", and they contain my opinions.  Sometimes I aggregate and comment at the same time, but generally I try to keep these separate.  I would like my blog to be a useful resource for anyone interested in the 29th district, even if they don't share my politics, so I try to treat the news and my reaction to it as separate items.

Third, I do some original reporting.  As someone who has a day job, I'm limited in what I can cover.  For example, when Eric Massa invited me to his weekly press conferences, I started covering them.  This is a lot of work, and I find now that I can only attend a couple per month.  Last year, I also began keeping track of earmarks and "significant votes" in the 29th, creating a new site, congressdb, to track voting.  When Congress chose to combine most of its appropriations for the year into one omnibus budget bill, it kind of made a mockery of the careful earmark and vote tracking that I had been doing.  After I get over my frustration about that, I plan to re-vamp this portion of the site and continue that work in the next month or so. 

I think bloggers will ultimately be the go-to source for reporting that analyzes and interprets data freely available on the Internet.  This is due to a number of factors:  bloggers are often more technically savvy that the average reporter, mining Internet data can occur during off-hours, and a blogger can become a specialist in certain categories of data, while most reporters don't have the luxury of concentrating their attention on one narrow topic.    That's why I'm so interested in government transparency.  The more information that the government has to report on the Internet, the more that bloggers like me can comb through it to find news. 

So, I'm not a journalist in the traditional sense of the word, or even in the Josh Marshall sense of the word, but I do some journalism.