Thursday, March 20, 2008

Post Facto Editing: The Difference in Writing Standards between Blogging and Journalism

On the differences between editing in blogging and journalism see Jon Garfunkel's short essay on "crowdsourcing" and post facto editing, which involves publishing first, filtering later. Garfunkel points out that bloggers use post facto editing out of circumstance and necessity, while journalists (who operate according to professional standards), use it out of laziness.

Garfunkel lists 5 conditions that distinguish post facto editing:
  1. The writer is not harming anybody by posting incomplete information.
  2. The writer acknowledges the incomplete areas in the original post, and actually does update it.
  3. The writer is initially writing for a close community of peers.
  4. The writer has a (different) day job, and can't easily contact sources.
  5. The writer does not have the stature to reach all necessary sources; posting first lets the sources know what/where the story will be.
Blogging assumes inquiries that utilize social networks for filtering information as it comes in but not because the writer is not beholden to find the truth when post facto editing.

Garfunkel leaves us a lot to chew on, and I think that his observations are a good start for distinguishing between blogging and professional journalism.

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