Are we all journalists?

So, there’s now almost 3,000,000 bloggers tracked by some of the online services. That’s 1% or so of the active online population, and since it seems as though the number is doubling every month or so, it’s starting to get significant.

Remember how you used to curse journalists? Curse them for being lazy, or hyperbolic? How about this headline from today’s Independent (UK newspaper):

“First Night: Clinton takes to the stage for the ultimate sell”

Ultimate? What makes it ultimate? A $30 book is hardly the ultimate sell, right?

But choosing words, choosing headlines, choosing photographs… it all adds up. When the New York Times admits that it colored its reporting the wrong way re Iraq, we’re talking about a big side effect: thousands of people dead.

Now, everyone with a blog is a journalist. When you run a post accusing a politician of having no personality, for example, you’re indulging the public’s desire to elect a dinner partner, not a president. When you chime in on the day’s talking points, you’re a tool, not a new voice.

So, we come to the moment of truth. Now that anyone who wants to be a journalist CAN be a journalist, are the ethics going to get better… or worse?

I’m an optimist most of the time, but on this issue, I’m afraid I’m a realist.