Reprinted with permission

June 23, 2007

Here is an article I wrote here on Bowl of Cheese back in June 2006. It is reprinted with my own permission as some people were still unclear on the concept of blogging for money versus blogging as a journalistic endeavor and blogging as a vehicle of self-expression.

You realize, I hope, that blogging can be all three…here’s the article…


Frank and Nic and others have commented on the slow refresh rates of the Bowl of Cheese blog. That’s not their imagination, it’s the consequence of an overburdened staff of writers here at Novel Ideas.

You see, when there are paying clients – like Gulf Oil, Tweeter, Brookstone, Hasbro, Fidelity, the Boston Herald and others – vying for our time, we cannot spend precious moments making people smile.

Writing is a serious business and just because your aunt Millie has her own blog, it doesn’t make her a professional writer. It does make her a blogger, though, and the distinction between journalist and blogger is getting blurred more each day.

In fact, a year ago when the Boston Globe took me to task for getting paid to blog, I was sure that my role as a blogger was in no way connected to my role as a reporter. The audience I cultivated on Jblog (as it was then called) wasn’t confused when I went on a rant about or for a product. They knew I was either getting advertising dollars or touting my own opinion.

(BTW – I have a category on my blog that indicates if I have been paid to write any of my entries. If and when that category is checked, you can be sure that someone has purchased my blog space for me to share their product and my opinion about it. Unless you see that category of PAID, you can also be sure that this blathering is just my own.)

WHICH, I contend, could be the same thing. Because if you pay me lots of money, my opinion of you will likely go up…BUT ONLY IN MY BLOG. Even if you pay me scads of cash, my journalistic ramblings about you won’t be affected. In fact, there were multiple occasions when I used to write for a food publication that restaurants would insist on feeding me and plying me with booze. That didn’t affect the glowing reviews I gave them or the multiple stars I gave their establishment.

More seriously. Blogging is just an opinion vehicle and you should take it with a grain of salt. If you are gathering your news and all your information from blogs, then you’re to blame if you only get half the story.

No professional journalist, including myself, relies on only one source for any story. Two is better, three or four is better still.

I’m not sure how I got into a mini soapbox diatribe about my ethics and the misconceptions people have about bloggers’ responsibilities. But until you start paying for your subscription to Bowl of Cheese, you’re just lurking and looking over my shoulder as I write in my journal.

If you want to read my real journalism, go HERE.

More to come…