blogger wins investigative journalism award

Here is the question I raise … is it really such a coup when a blogger wins a big investigative journalism award but it turns out he is a very well-known & respected freelance journalist?

Not to diminish the work of Talking Points Memo‘s Joshua Micah Marshall or his recent honor of the Polk Award for excellence in investigative journalism (because I really do think it is great) — but I just find it interesting that a blogger that wins such an award is actually a “real journalist” anyway.

I found out about this story the old-fashioned way. I was making copies at work & my colleague Dr. Hugh Martin, a journalism professor, came up to tell me about this. Hugh gave me a run-down on the history of the award & its importance in the journalism community. When he told me a blogger won this year — & the story about how that blogger had basically employed his army of readers to sift through public record materials to get to the bottom of a story — I was not as amazed at the story of bloggers & readers uncovering a story as I was of the journalistic community actually embracing it! Not *that* was news!

Then Hugh told me the name of the blogger & I realized: False alarm. This wasn’t the earth shattering event I had thought it was. They had picked the “safest bet,” one of their own if you will.

Is this what some have called “a landmark day for a certain kind of journalism?” Ehhh. Not so much.

Don’t mistake me, I really am thrilled about the award & marvel at the ingenuity of a blogger to use his readers to help get to the bottom of a story. But is a “blogger” who wins an important investigative journalism award the coup I thought it was? Not when that bloggger was already a card-carrying member of the industry already.

Thanks to: Dr. Hugh Martin for telling me the story & for blogging about it this morning to prompt this post I had planned.

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