What role do you think bloggers fill (or fail to fill) in the changing field of news?
Some people think bloggers will one day oust traditional journalists. I hope not. I'm a blogger myself but I think both mediums are desireable.
Some bloggers are real journalists. Some actually write for legitimate media as well. However some independent amateur bloggers are journalists too. They do research and write stories that are important to their community. A lot of blogs are mindless ranting and fluff, but some are not. Blogging is becoming important to our news.
Journalists, and print journalists especially, abide by what is known as Associated Press style. They have a set format and style that they must abide by, and objectivity, fairness, and accuracy are of the utmost importance.
In the world of blogs, such reins and controls are not present. Most blogs tend to be a single person rattling on about an issue or topic, with little to no source of direction. And while some blogs are more "official" in nature, meaning they are written by people who actually do their homework, in the grand scheme of things, they are little more than an "open mic" for those who feel that their opinions carry some merit, no matter how minute.
Without journalism, blogging would be random observations about personal lives with very little relevant, informational content. Thanks to journalism, however, we have the ability to opine about multiple subjects with some degree of authentic knowledge. The craze of blogging will probably dwindle down in years to come, as more media and technology become available. Blogs will become, metaphorically speaking, a radio in the age of television. They'll still be here, but their role will change as society does.
I think the ecosystem of news you absolutely, 100% need both. Journalists are out in the field, gathering evidence, writing it in a compelling way, and submitting to an editing process. Bloggers are unfiltered and mostly provide context, background, and viewpoints about the news other people have uncovered. They play a very important role-- but technically journalists could survive without bloggers, but not the other way 'round. I'm glad that the internet has created more opportunities to dissect, discuss, and understand the news.