*These are my notes of [this session](http://2007.wordcamp.org/schedule/blogs-vs-journalism/). They may be inaccurate. Check with people who actually said the words before jumping up and suing them. Thanks.*
[John C. Dvorak](http://www.dvorak.org/blog/) thinks there is no difference whatsoever, and bloggers should be given credentials. The mainstream media are not taking bloggers seriously *yet*. *steph-note: I remember [Dvorak from 2002 and the kitty-heads](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2002/02/20/dvorakitty/).
[Om Malik](http://gigaom.com/): Shift… blogs have a different dynamic, do not replace mainstream journalism. Careful not to lump all bloggers in the same category.
*steph-note: arghl, going to sleep. Please, wake me up.*
JCD: bloggers cover crap stuff like Paris Hilton’s lost PDA or Tom Cruise doing something silly, just like the mainstream press. Problem. “Quote posts” amongst bloggers (quote, + “what is this guy thinking?”, and that’s your blog post). Driving mainstream media nuts. The blogging world will be rejected by the mainstream because they are an annoyance.
At one point, JCD had to fight to stick links to outside sites in his column (“OMG! if we link outside people will see how crap we are!”)
OM: comments can be good/bad. Important feature. You have to assume that your commentors care. They’ve spent time on your site. Respect that.
JCD: asking readers to fill in the blanks of your story *steph-note: like I’m doing for my 2002 Dvorak article* — very interesting, the whole of the information is in the post **plus** the comments.
OM: comments are what makes blogging different from mainstream media, tapping into the collective intelligence. Engage every single comment. Single most important lesson learned.
JCD: hey, you can moderate comments without killing the blog (JCD uses Spam Karma). Some comments don’t contribute much (“You suck!” doesn’t really add much to the conversation). Recommends moderating to make sure comments have value. Need critical mass of readers to have enough comments. Moderation should be the responsibility of the post author. In this new world, you make a post, these comments are part of your job as the writer.
OM: you set the tone. There are good bars, lousy bars. People choose. *steph-note: blog gardening is really important. what you accept or not will influence the way people act in the comments.*
JCD: also need to relax. Not a national disaster if things go downhill in the comments. JCD has been called an idiot for 25 years, but he’s still up there ;-).
OM: you can rate comments.
JCD: doesn’t like rating comments, except restaurant reviews. *steph-note: I don’t like comment rating very much either.*
OM: One trick is to step away from what you wrote for 15 minutes before posting.
JCD: journalist trick: read out loud (really!) because your ears and eyes don’t work the same way. Catches a lot of errors.
OM: Actually, you can have your mac read it back to you.
Q [Ben Metcalfe](http://benmetcalfe.com/blog/): “no difference about bloggers and journalists” — could you explain more? Investigative journalism, holding government to account… More thoughts on the mainstream stuff.
JCD: Importance of layout. If it “looks too much like a blog”, you may lose credibility (people go “ah, it’s a *blog*”). Cf. [The Onion](http://www.theonion.com/content/index). NYT redesigned after the Onion (challenged!) Neo-blog style: credibility goes way higher, with same content. Same old templates, different flower, different pink, place for cat photo… Same old tired layouts.
BM: Is it really just a question of layouts?
JCD: What I’m saying is valid for first impressions.
JCD: “Citizen Journalism”: artificial construct *steph-note: what is it with Dvorak and cats?*
OM: Bloggers should call people. Try to get information directly from people. At least you can say you tried to get in touch.
JCD: Maybe take one course in journalism so at least you have a clue how it works, and study libel law, that’s important (you can’t call people a “crook” for example, you can get sued into oblivion — “douchebag”, however, is OK!)
OM: Actually, “douchebag” might even have a greater effect in the post. The English language is wonderful, has many ways of describing the same thing.
JCD: You need to be careful, and I think bloggers haven’t had the lecture on libel law. You don’t want to get sued for a minor comment or something.
OM: blogging uptake directly related to broadband penetration *steph-note: not sure about that!!*
Ben Metcalfe: places blogging is catching on are places where there is not really much free press (e.g. Eastern Europe, Iran — not necessarily lots of blogging). Absence of free press more valid correlation than broadband.
OM: Lots of blogging in USA etc.
JCD: yeah, countries with a lousy free press. We don’t have a free press.