Being a journalist-blogger

Jean Quatremer is a well-known (at least in the French-speaking mediascape) journalist-blogger, working for the daily Libération and intensively blogging about European affairs on Les coulisses de Bruxelles. He was at ULB last week for the online journalism class, talking about “Journalists and their blog(s): freedom, identity, diversity”.

In a few words (and grossly summarized), the main points of his talk:

  • He does not regard Les coulisses de Bruxelles as a “blog”, but rather as a generic news site.
  • There is a fundamental difference between bloggers and journalists-bloggers: journalists are at the source of news
  • One of the key questions to ask is: who are the journalists-bloggers? In the case of Libération, on more than 100 journalists, there’s only a dozen of bloggers…
  • Blogs allow journalists to be more autonomous, and to resist pressure from the hierarchy. By speaking in an individual, personalized voice, the journalist-blogger goes against the assumption (maintained by the hierarchy) that there is a journalistic collective in which everybody can be easily replaced
  • There is no legal ground for Les coulisses de Bruxelles: Quatremer doesn’t know what would happen if there was a legal issue (would Libération intervene and take responsibility for the blog?)
  • Quatremer is the most active commentator on his own blog
  • European affairs are only considered boring because they are told in a boring way: Europe is a western and journalists must tell the story that way
  • The idea of objectivity in journalism is “bullshit for journalism schools”
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