Define Bloggers: On Matt Lewis’ Blogger List

So I wake up this morning to my respected friend Matt Lewis’ latest work for Politics Daily where he makes a list of 10 bloggers that the Washington Post needs to know.

I think we need to define “blogger”.

On the list, I only see two pure bloggers: Glenn Reynolds aka Instapundit and Ed Morrissey aka HotAir. The rest of the people on the list are either paid consultants or paid journalists/commentators who blog. Maybe Jim Gerahty, too.

Lot’s of people have a blog, does that make them bloggers?

I don’t think so. Bloggers have, as their primary focus, blogging. They specialize in the sort of short-form journalism and commentary that is blogging. Most of the people on the list started blogging but to call them bloggers now would be to strain the definition of the word.

Maybe the blogging world has so transformed that the people listed should be called New Journalists. I don’t know. Just because someone hasn’t attended J-School does not mean that they’re not journalists. And just because they work at the Weekly Standard, or National Review Online, or some other paid conservative online weekly doesn’t, by definition, make them non-journalists.

Here are the other names on the list:

Tim Carney (didn’t know he had a blog, read his stuff at the Examiner), Mary Katherine Ham at Weekly Standard (note, her work is called “articles“), Josh Trevino who is, in my mind, first, a political consultant who happens to have gotten more active with his blog since the main campaign is over, and on and on.

These people are my friends and colleagues. Like Matt, I believe they all do amazing work. So do the definitions really matter?

I don’t know. Most bloggers worth their salt, aren’t just blogging–they’re editorial writing and doing hard journalism, too.

It’s more like these folks, including the pure bloggers, are a weird amalgam of right-leaning self-taught journalists rejected by the mainstream press on ideological not professional grounds.

All the people listed, including Matt, have a fairness that defines their writing. They are very good. Are they bloggers, though? And is this term still useful these days?

It seems that the online world is changing and new definitions need to be made. Or maybe, as someone online said, we need to stop using terms like new or social media or blogging.

It’s just media. And good is good.

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