UC Berkeley's course on weblogs
North Gate, UC Berkeley's journalism school, is offering a course on weblogs. Certainly weblogs can be a useful medium for journalists, but the course description construes weblogs too narrowly: "Some are run by journalists, while others operate in competition with journalists." Some, I think, have nothing to do with journalism — they're people's rants and confessions, their diaries and creative outlets. I am a fine weblogger, but I cringe to think of myself as a journalist. A good journalist ought to put much more thought into his or her writing than I do, and ought to write about more important topics. To think of all weblogs as journalistic constricts the idea of a weblog.
Or, on the other hand, maybe it broadens the notion of journalism. Both journalists and webloggers write about events. The difference, perhaps, is that journalists write about events that are significant not only to themselves, but for other people as well. Webloggers license themselves to write about the most mundane topics, such as their clothing, pets and social lifes, regardless of the event's importance to anyone besides themselves. Scott Rosenberg puts it well: "If the pros are criticized as being cautious, impersonal, corporate and herdlike, the bloggers are the opposite in, well, almost every respect: They're reckless, confessional, funky — and herdlike."
Obviously, weblogs post often don't follow any preconceived train of thought (generalizing from myself). In this post, I saw the link about the weblogs class on leuschke and starting writing. Stream of consciousness is an appropriate style for weblogs, but rarely for journalism.
In the time that I was writing this post, Graham posted a similiar discourse (or "idle chitchat", as he call it) on the nature of weblogs.