Originally Posted by blandman
No, I'm sorry, you are wrong. I also don't mean to be insulting, but it's attitude's like yours that are perpetrated by the print media to discredit the internet.
Whether or not someone has been trained has no bearing on their status as a columnist. A columnist is someone who writes in print media. Someone who writes for a website is only also a columnist if they contribute to a print media. Those that write strictly on the internet are bloggers. Those are solid definitions with no bearing on training. Now, most blogs write like op ed pieces sure, but do you call into question sports editorials in print media simply because they're such?
The majority of what you find on the internet off of pages like tumblr and other post your own blog sites are of course not what we're talking about. Yes, they come with the name "blogger", but any joe with a zine is also a "columnist" in exactly the same why. To criticize a web only writer because they're a "blogger" show little understanding of how the term differs from other terms used to carry some sort of imaginary credentials.
Credentials are not imaginary. And what is required to earn those credentials provides the holders with greater access and understanding of the truth.
I question any sports story that does not name sources, whether it is in print or online. Years ago, I would have questioned it if it were in your newsletter. Look at the Frontline story linking brain injuries and football and the book that preceded it. The stakes are much more important than the trivial stuff you're talking about, and there wasn't a single anonymous source or even a source quoted off camera. I do tend to give professional journalists a bit more wiggle room in this area because they should have the training and experience to know when they are being played, but precious little. If I read a blogger with an unnamed source, I might trust him if he e-mailed me enough information about his source on request, but I'm not sure I would give Ray Ratto much more slack just because he's an experienced professional.
I can't imagine there are any reliable bloggers who wouldn't rather be making a good living with an "credentials institution."
The man sitting at the Denny's counter may be the greatest source who ever lived, but I have no reason to believe him just because he's holding court at a Denny's counter.