It is standard for a speaker at a conference or a panelist in a forum to say he has learned new things, or learned to look at his subject in a new light, because of the questions from the audience. But in the case of the PCIJ forum on "bloggers as journalists" last Saturday, I really did learn much more from the discussion than the audience probably did from my intervention.
I had a short wishlist, which I used to end my remarks: I wished that journalist-bloggers minimized or avoided altogether their use of rumor or gossip (or "scuttlebutt," the word that Manolo Quezon has helped to popularize). That more journalist-bloggers monitor and write about radio news and commentary, which one broadcast executive once described as the "black hole" of Philippine journalism. That more journalist-bloggers learn to add quotes from other sites being linked to, especially when these sites are being criticized, rather than merely providing the links — the better to help the reader evaluate the journalist-blogger’s criticism. And that more journalist-bloggers enjoy "institutional backing" (the phrase Ricky Carandang used in the same early-afternoon discussion).
On the other hand, I learned the following: That top-notch Ellen Tordesillas is about to start her own blog. (Granted. That wasn’t a question from the audience, but an input from a fellow panelist.) That journalists must learn to think of blogs "not just [as] an extension of opinion" (Caloy Conde). That we must consider the essentially subjective nature of blogs, that "blogs are biased" (Rachel Khan). That the issue of journalists using blogs to "get around" the strictures of conventional media is one that exercises many journalists (for instance, Joyce of Manila Standard Today, Ricky again, and Joseph Morong). That the distinction between journalists and journalists-as-bloggers may actually miss the point about blogging as a phenomenon (this is what I understood Alan Robles to be saying, but I myself may have missed a point or two). That blogging may breathe new life into community journalism (Rolly Fernandez). That Jove Francisco’s indispensable chronicle of life in the Malacanang press trenches enjoys enviable support from his newsroom. And, not least, that SunStar’s exciting experiment in blog-powered citizen journalism depends on Max Limpag’s sleeping cycle!
PS. Rachel has thoughtfully provided a link to "the best ethical guide for bloggers."