One Blogger says "No" to press credentialing bloggers. But also admits he'd stand in line for one too.

Professor David Newquist, South Dakota's James Lipton of bloggers, writes yesterday that he disagrees with me on credentialing bloggers. But at the same time, admits that he'd apply for one himself.
PP at the South Dakota War College has posted that he is in quest for press credentials. Like many bloggers, he seems to think that his politically oriented opinions and his gossip, often mean and snarky gossip, is news.

Unfortunately, the South Dakota media do not present much of a contrast in the content and writing to blogs. But there are journalists in the state who are concerned about thoroughness, accuracy, and who subject their stories to the kind of rigorous evaluation and fact-checking that is fundamental to the profession. Sometimes blogs do come up with some items before the professional media do, but I have still to see many blogs, except one, post a story that contains the verifications, the qualifications, and the searching for facts that is a requisite of professional journalism.


As for the news standards of blogs, the South Dakota bloggers' handling of the Dan Sutton matter and Sen. Johnson's illness show clearly that they are media in quest of sensation, mean gossip, and whatever else they can filter and contrive to inflict damage on their targets. If they subscribe to any journalistic practice, it is the practice of tabloid journalism.

However, if bloggers are given credentials, I'll be among the first in line. Maybe we can open up a crack in the walls of government and let a few rays of sunshine into those dark halls of political connivery.
Read it all here as David yet once again holds himself out as the self-appointed conscience of the SD Blogosphere. I'm not sure if I should take the last paragraph as backhanded praise, or a lack of integrity.

Regardless, if credentials are granted to bloggers, Dave, you can thank me later.


Anonymous said…
".....the South Dakota bloggers' handling of the Dan Sutton matter and Sen. Johnson's illness show clearly that they are media in quest of sensation, mean gossip, and whatever else they can filter and contrive to inflict damage on their targets."

What blogs has he been reading?
Anonymous said…
Hey Newquist!
Jealous much?
Anonymous said…
Bloggers don't deserve credentials because they have no formal checks on their subjective bias, they don't report news without constantly editorializing, and credentials would lead to issues and people being "Gannonized".

People like PP, Epp, Wiken and Newquist could probably handle the privlege of being credentialed. I think they're intelligent and have established, at times, at least some level of quasi-legitmacy, and some have worked as journalists before.

But where do you draw the line? How do you keep the nutty ones out? I don't really want our reps having to waste time explaining and defending the legislative process to Johnny Basement of Dungeon&Dragons&

Further, why would Dems talk to you PP, knowing you're foaming to subjectively skewer them and make them look bad? You'd be left talking primarily to members of your own party and would be more of a bulldog than a watchdog.

The time for blogger credentials has not arrived. The collective blogosphere has not yet earned it. I don't know if that time will come, and I certainly don't want some type of office of blogging oversight to determine "blogworthiness".

Bloggers love their freedom, and through exercising that freedom, they limit the recognition they crave. PP, if you obtained credentials, I think they would come with certain expectations about how they were used. To meet those expectations, your site would become less interesting and we get enough of the less interesting stuff. You do fine with your current MO. I think you want credentials to try and get more notches on your scoop gunbelt.

Would these credentials also get bloggers into sporting events, concerts and other venues? Or don't you care as long as you get floor access?

Anonymous said…
Let's see now, just how would it be any different then the spin put on the political news by the Argus Leader, Rapid City Journal, CNN and the Fair and Balanced Network (Fox News)?

Oh that's right, their political news reports are all same. No difference at all. What you hear word for word on CNN you can hear word for word on Fox. The political news Kranz puts in the Argus is identical as to what you read in the Rapid City Journal

Yes, they all report exactly the same thing. And of course it is always 100% factual! Not like what you read on the blogs!

So please don't let those "spin doctors" bloggers have press credentials because unlike the regular media, bloggers will simply slaughter the political truth!
Anonymous said…
9:30 AM

You bring up a good point about limits, but I'd like to know what "formal check" exists on bias at the Argus Leader? At least most bloggers are upfront about their bias(es).
Anonymous said…
In this case I strongly approve of bloggers having press credentials.
It should not be viewed as a free pass to say or do anything they want.
It ideally should be viewed as a professional responsibility to bring real news and opinions on the important issues.
Receiving press credential for this legislative session should be viewed as a privilege, not a right.

Some suggestions:
Need to register and pay a registration fee.
Agree to the same rules and regulations and ethical responsibilities as the traditional media outlets.
Practice professional decorum.
Have a track record of being an online for at least one year.
Submit traffic data from a third party.
Applicants should provide a degree of transparency in their operations.
The person in charge of the state house media has the final decision who will be granted or denied press credentials and can revoke that privilege at any time.

South Dakota is famous for being very secretively in regard to the peoples business which effects the great majority of South Dakotans.
This would be a great opportunity for bloggers to lift that veil of mystery and actually provide a great service to their readers.
There are some very creditable political bloggers in South Dakota with extensive political experience in politics. It is very disingenuous to imply that bloggers are not capable of providing credible news and opinions. Bloggers have a heavier burden to seek out the truth than do their counterparts; this is what the general public has come to expect from bloggers.

Actually, I have no idea why bloggers would want press credentials, however, I would think that the everyone involved in the legislative process would want to know who are these bloggers reporting their every word, their every move.
Anonymous said…
Dr. Newquist--Seems like your post is the pork pie hat calling the bermuda shorts nerdy.

What is news? What is political news? Much of what inside political news is IS gossip.

I don't know if bloggers need credentialing or not. I think it is an interesting idea and gets us into a discussion about what is "news" what is a "journalist" and what rights does a journalist have over a regular citizen.

I think in some ways even biased bloggers, myself included, are MORE transparent than traditional media. My readers know or soon know what my point of view and biases are. Same with PP, Chad, The Viking, others.

And do we spin the news? Certainly. But our credibility comes from whether we are correct or mostly correct or at least try to be correct on the facts.

Again, I see little difference in what Pat does here than what Kranz did for years in the Argus. The differences are these: 1., I know from the get-go that Pat is a Republican and will take a pro-Republican spin on things; 2. He's quicker about getting breaking information out than Dave; 3. And he is probably as accurate if not more accurate than Dave.

So, where do you draw the line?

There has been some good discussion pro and con about this issue here. It is a topic that's time has come.

And maybe next year we Pajamaistas will be standing across from the Capitol ala Leslee Unruh today with a banner that says "Thank You PP for the Credentials!" PP, my hero!

Can you imagine the conversations that Sibby and I will have in the state senate press box once we have our green (or perhaps more fitting, pink badges?)

Todd Epp
Senior Credentials Fellow
The S.D. Watch Institute
Publisher said…
So no Credentials for me then, right?
Anonymous said…
VJ and Todd Epp have captured the essence of the argument.

With rare exceptions, there is little FACTUAL difference today between bloggers and the MSM. Tell me, Hambone, what are these "formal checks on their (reporters') subjective bias" of which you write? Their readers? Their editors? Gimme a break.

Bloggers and reporters are equally informed and uniformed, and deliver roughly the same dose of misinformation and disinformation. The days when journalists dug down until they got the truth have virtually disappeared.

The media hacks of the 21 Century care little for balance and objectivity. It's more a case of "Here it is America. I don't much care what the facts are, but here's some stuff I found that reflects my personal opinion."

Although I'm no longer a reporter, I do have a journalism degree. And I will say that I hold bloggers in higher regard than most of the MSM reporters. At least bloggers tell us upfront that we're getting their opinions. The vast majority of liberal newspapers and television networks have lulled the American public into believing they're actually reporting the truth. And sadly, the vast majority of Americans are so gullible and apathetic that they swallow MSM drivel as Gospel.
Anonymous said…
Bloggers are constitutionally protected via freedom of the press. They should have all the privileges that print media have.

Print media is venturing into the blogisphere and recognizes market potential, as does PP. Why shouldn't bloggers get a share of potential also protected by the constitution?

The Founders could not have anticipated blogging and certainly they didn't clearly delineate perimeters of the press but instead established "freedom" as the prescribed vehicle.

If you choose to regulate bloggers then your must also regulate print, network and cable in the sense that they would be equally restricted to reporting according to your specific tastes.

Let the market sift entertainment sources. For instance; I watch Glen Beck instead of Cooper Anderson. I read anything other than the Argus Liar. I understand there is a weekly in Rapid City that is competing with the Rapid City Jester.

It is about time print media has competition other than network or cable. I welcome this competition that is adapted for instant participation among readership. I would say don't be afraid of this type of evolution and let the fit survive.

Some of you should quit stroking your egos by measuring bloggers against your own bias. Neither should a government official be allowed to censure reporting via "procedural" litmus.

So-called "privileges" should be conducted by random drawing if reporters crush the door keeper with requests for floor time.

11:07 pm - Thank you for the testimony.
Anonymous said…
Ralph, people don't just wake up one day and decide I think I'll be a reporter for the Washington Post. There is usually required education and experience, and with that a sense of the standards within the industry. Are there shoddy journalists out there? You bet. Some are sloppy, or they follow senstional stories for a variety of reasons and can get away with it, usually either for personal gain or to sell more papers.

When PP or Chad or whoever makes a post your can bet they're wondering in the back of their minds how their readers will react, if the post will 'stir the pot' so to speak, and generate comments.

The print media that has endured have a section for their hard news and a section for their opinions. These worlds are not always kept separate but for the most part they don't or are not supposed to collide too often. That, combined with training, experience, and hopefully a sense of history and standard of conduct are the type of checks to which I was referring. And my comment should have read "form of" rather than "formal".

I check out PP and others looking for some entertainment and commentary, not hard news. For that I'll take either Woster, Mercer or Kranz any day. There does appear to be a type of symbiosis at play as bloggers constantly use and cite MSM as they ply their craft, and we know reporters read blogs as some even have their own.

To PP's credit, he's closer than most to being a "blogorter" or whatever creature this is evolving into. I just am not ready for every Joe Blow with a glorified myspace page to start holding themselves out as credentialed reporters. Such a co-mingling blurs the line between news and opinion. I'm not ready at this time to see bloggers empowered with some Gonzo-Gannon form of journalism. Let blogging evolve a little further before we take up the credential issue. PP does just fine with his current methods and as Mercer pointed out, nobody conducts interviews on the floor anyway. I'm suprised PP didn't know that.

I had a lady call me up a couple of years ago claiming to be a reporter with a magazine. Before I returned her call I checked out the magazine - it was strictly online, dealt with California family law courts and she was the only one involved with it. In short, she made Sibby look like Dan Rather.

This rant has gone on long enough. I won't say necessarily that I'm right, but this how I feel. FYI, I'm a centrist who is fiscally conservative and culturally progressive and I have several years experience as a journalist myself.

Your salty friend,


Collectively bloggers have not earned my trust. Too many are like a kid with a new toy gun showing his buddies what and how far it can shoot.
Anonymous said…
Freedom of the Press! That is the issue.

I just happen to think blogs are equal in having constitutional rights as all other media also citing protection via press.

The identity of bloggers should be answered through constitutional lenses. It seems that we are stuck with expressing our opinions about bloggers and reporters, of which some seem valid but reading no opinion that I would singularly stand on. However -

I am a consumer just as you are. I pay the newsstand price or view ads just as anyone (PP frequently reminds us about his advertisers and advertisers about his circulation). We all have our preferences. However-

I noticed across the spectrum of "reporting" South Dakota's Referred Law Six there were several descriptions offered by “professional and experienced reporters” that remain disagreeable to each other.

For example: “total ban on abortion” and “near total ban on abortion”. The “reporters” could not unite to agree with one description despite combined training and employment experiences totaling several hundreds of years.

The major controversy zeroed in on over HB-1215 and thrust presented to voters by opposing sides to make a decision about is whether or not the bill contained exceptions. “Reporters” having personal bias unchecked by professionalism lead voters to polls. Some feeling informed but my sense is more felt confused.

I noticed that "reporters" show horrific images of death wrought through every way conceivable - except abortion. I appreciate that blogs are not so prone to censure horrific truths.

Stand strong for your rights blogger/reporter!

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