Can bloggers be journalists? Leslie Fong: “Emphatically not!”

The following quote is by Leslie Fong (picture, right), taken from the Singapore Press Club website here. Fong’s quote is in reply to the question posed : “Are bloggers journalists?”

TOC is highlighting this so that our readers, and fellow bloggers, can share their views and opinion on what Mr Fong said:

“No! Emphatically not! Whether in writing news stories or features, properly trained journalists check and double-check their facts, set these in context, work in relevant background information, insist on objectivity and balance, organise their material so their account flows smoothly and logically, and use temperate language unless there is a powerful reason to resort to strong words. Even in offering views, they ensure that the opinions expressed are based on fact, failing which, as any libel lawyer would tell you, what they write cannot be defended as fair comment.

Bloggers, on the other hand, just sound off as they please. They are not bound by professional standards and ethics, and are responsible to no one but themselves. So you read them at your own risk, or peril. Newspaper editors who give bloggers space, or even prominence, in their pages, in the hope that this will attract younger readers, are doing damage to their calling.”

Leslie Fong was the editor of the Straits Times for 15 years, until 2002 when Han Fook Kwang took over the reins. He is also the president of the Singapore Press Club Management Committee and Exective Vice-President, Marketing, Singapore Press Holdings. (link)

You can read the answers of Cherian George and others on the Singapore Press Club website as well. (link)

Read also : Are bloggers journalists? A critical look at the idea of “professionalism” by

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