I like to ask B2B journalists about the bloggers on their beat. It's the sort of question that gives me information that the person answering doesn't realize he's providing.
For example, I still run into folks who say things like "I don't really get blogging" and "my teenaged nephew has a blog" and "I don't read those things." And that tells me that the person giving the answer is slow to sense change and lacking in curiosity.
And people without an inquisitive nature shouldn't be journalists.
Then there are the folks who spew venom and confusion when they answer the question. They often don't know anyone who blogs about the industry they cover. But they do have a vague notion of someone who once wrote something terrible about someone on a blog. They are still very upset by this. They are also usually still very upset by talk radio. And they will link them in their answer to my question. They often launch into a tirade about the state of journalism. They take a very long time to answer my very simple question and will eventually use the word "amateurs" to describe bloggers and use the word "objectivity" to describe their own work.
What they tell me with their answers is that they are overly emotional and have difficulty with reason. In other words, they cannot be objective.
And people who aren't self-aware shouldn't be journalists.
Then there is everyone else. They give clear and concise answers to my question. They know a few folks who blog on their beats. They like some of them. They dislike others. Sometimes they are jealous of a blogger's "freedom" in writing style, use of anonymous sources, etc. Sometimes they have blogs of their own. Sometimes they post comments on the blogs on their beats. Sometimes they link to the blogs on their beat. Always they are aware of what the bloggers are doing because they try to be aware of everything on their beats.
And what these people tell me with their answers is this: We are journalists.
And I love those people.
The Wall Street Journal has a piece today on the most influential bloggers in a number of U.S. industries. Take a look. Is there anyone on the list that you should be reading but aren't? A few of my regular reads are on the list -- Curbed (because I'm a New Yorker who is looking for a new apartment) and Adrants.
tags: journalism, b2b, media, trade press, magazines, newsletters