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Sunday, 07 September 2003

On your bike

Edward Champion has taken the time to respond to my previous post. For reasons of presentation, my reply is below, interspersed amongst Ed's sentences:

"A bicycle's great if you want to travel short distances."

Which was the point of my post, to be honest. A bicycle is different from a car. They do different things and fulfill different needs. Blogging--you'll notice this as a recurrent theme here--is not journalism. To say, though, that because blogging isn't journalism it is inherently worthless, to say that because blogging couldn't possibly be raised to the standard to which journalism holds itself--that I find highly lacking in journalism in the first place--displays the kind of knee-jerk mentality that's really going to make you look rather stupid.

I have better things to do with my time than to read the gutter press. I don't read tabloids and prefer broadsheets. Fortunately, this kind of preference hasn't resulted in me proclaiming from the streets that journalism is dead because of tabloids' preoccupation with lurid stories. I couldn't care less if people read tabloids--and they do, in their droves.

Surprisingly, instead of reading tabloids (proper journalism, because it's on paper and written down), over the last few years I've been reading new-fangled weblogs. They're well-written, they're remarkably knowledgeable in their subject area and there's a good chance of interaction with the author. I have not, however, been reading weblogs that are useless to me. Much like how I don't read the tabloid press. Interesting, don't you think?

"But you wouldn't call a Huffy BMX bike a 12-speed, would you?"

No, I wouldn't. And I don't believe I would call "blogging" "journalism", either. You, however, have a problem with blogging and have pretty much decided that it can't be elevated in terms of being a separate form without even considering why it should be elevated in the first place. Blogging is not journalism. Besides, last I checked, not all journalists performed proper journalistic research (your seventh point) either, yet this new form must suddenly be held to a higher standard than the form it's being compared against.

"Then again, a lot of bicyclists seem to harbor considerable delusions in an interstate world."

I'm not sure whether you're taking a shot at bloggers such as Winer who proclaim what they're doing as the second coming in terms of journalism (which I don't agree with in the slightest--blogging's strengths are manifestly evident elsewhere without having to be hung on journalism's coat tails), or whether you're taking this whole bicycle thing too far.

I live in Cambridge. There's bikes all over the place. I can't afford to a car to the extent that if someone gave one to me, I'd probably just park it outside and wash it now and then. Even if I did ride to work, I wouldn't be stupid enough to decide to ride down to London for the weekend. While I was a student here, though, I rode everywhere. It was surprisingly convenient. There's a shortage of parking here, see. Having a bike in the city centre gave me more freedom than owning a car ever could have. Sure, a car would've been useful for those trips to the supermarket to load up on groceries, but it wouldn't have been to nip down across the Cam to go to a supervision.

I live in an interstate world. I flit back and forth over the Atlantic with near-clockwork regularity. I don't expect to ride my bike to Washington, DC. I do, however, read my friend Brad DeLong's weblog and The Economist.

1 comments and trackbacks

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