“News and blogs now exist on a continuum, so there’s really no such thing as a two-part classification of the world into news and blogs,” he says. “You really have to think about the whole spectrum.”
His conclusion is echoed by close observers of the news world. Rather than any bright line between journalists and bloggers, they say, the picture gets muddier by the minute.
Not that news seekers are obsessed with the topic. Some argue that only professional journalists notice – or care.
“There’s a lot of confusion between what’s mainstream media and what’s other forms of media,” says Sreenath Sreenivasan, a professor who teaches new media at Columbia University’s school of journalism in New York. But the average person poking around online doesn’t “necessarily focus on that issue,” he says.
“I have friends who get all their news from their Facebook news feed,” he says. They get links to news articles from friends, but they’ll also get news of friends who changed jobs, moved to a new house, or entered a new relationship. “That’s all ‘news’ to them,” Dr. Sreenivasan says. It’s not about mainstream versus nonmainstream. It’s all about, “What is news to me?” he says.
Rather than relying on familiar news organizations, people are more apt to trust their friends’ judgment. People may not even notice where the news item originated. “If my friend Jim sent me this article, I’m going to trust it more because he sent it to me,” Sreenivasan says.