Personal or Factual? Blogger or Journalist?

A nice cup of Earl Grey if you please, sir...

Now,  I know how absurd it might sound by putting “Samuel Adams” and “Blogger” in the same sentence. I’m not here to say that Sam Adams has all of sudden rose from the grave and now has a popular blog with 10,000 followers. Now that is absurd. But after reading the Journal of Occurrences and the first chapter of Mightier Than The Sword, I came to wonder if Sam Adams was truly a journalist or if he was what we would call a “blogger”.

Some could argue that he was a journalist. He wrote about events that had happened and what he had observed. Does that make one a journalist? Bloggers do the same thing as well. Is it an issue of being paid?  As of lately, LOTS of bloggers are getting paid to post entries. Ethics? Moral? Training? Who knows! It could all come down to blogging is strictly for internet purposes and journalists are in the papers. But this is Sam Adams we’re talking about and last time I checked internet wasn’t invented in the 1770s.  So it all boiled to what I think truly distinguishes blogger from journalist.

Is it personal or factual? Biased or unbiased?

Bloggers are known to write about anything and everything, but only write in their POV. They are biased. It’s not about facts, but what they believe is right and wrong, their likes and dislikes. Blogs are like journals or diaries you used to keep under your pillow when you were 12 to document things that happened that day. Journalists,on the other hand,  are writers who are supposed to be unbiased. They state the facts (proven facts), they investigate, they try and get the whole picture and then serve it up to a mass audience. It’s not about what they think, it’s about a story that is important and people need to see it.

Sam Adams was an important writer during the time of British occupation, writing about rapes of women by British soldiers, muggings, violence.  He was a great writer who wanted to show the colonies what was going on around them in their homes and towns. But after reading some articles from the Journal of Occurrences, I have came to the decision that Adams is a blogger. Why?  Once he wrote that the British were “bloody-backed rascals”, it showed that he was biased and he was making it personal. Also, an example in Mightier Than The Sword showed that most of the stories in the Journals were rather suspicious due to delay and exaggeration, which could mean that it wasn’t true. Evidence was either made up or not shown at all, which doesn’t follow the journalist trait of being investigative and fact-checking.

There is a “Code of Ethics” that the Society of Professional Journalists has that journalists are supposed to follow. The code was developed WAY after Adams’ days, but it’s mostly a way that journalists have always followed. It states that theys should:

  • Seek out the truth and report it.
  • Minimize harm.
  • Act Independently.
  • Be Accountable.

By looking at these rules, I can tell you that Adams really didn’t follow most of them. Though he did write of events that happened, he wasn’t truthful on some of them, nor did he report it on time. He didn’t “minimize harm” because he wrote to start riots and/or get people on his side.  Though that wasn’t a bad thing, especially during that time, it wasn’t enough to make him a “Journalist”. It just made him a man with a very strong opinion.

pic credit: Liberty Maniacs

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