Scott Knowles has a very detailed take on the Lehrer blog story. Here's an interesting point - one which I agree with:
Is weblogging journalism?
Joan (MSNBC Editor): "One of the values we place on our own weblogs is that we edit our webloggers. Out their in the blogosphere often it goes from the mind of the blogger to the mind of the reader. And there's no back up. And I would submit that that editing factor really is the factor that makes it journalism. Are you making a mistake here? Do you really want to say that? Do you really want to use that word? Is that libelous? All those basic journalism questions that we always ask."
This is interesting to me because it's almost exactly what Henry Copeland and I briefly discussed after DC DOT COMM in January - He said much of the same.
However, this is where I disagree with Joan. Those are the "basic journalism questions that news media always ask?" (paraphrased). I think instead of saying the editor/writer structure makes MSNBC's blogs real journalism and others not is somewhat of a biased statement to the existing (or shall I say old) hierarchy in the news media.
There are different types of journalism. The journalism that blogging brings to the table is a singular person, gonzo style. In the flesh, without hierarchical control. And to the point of several in the story, blogging is participatory journalism. I would even call it conversational journalism. Conversations do not hold the same characteristics as broadcast communication. I would argue that there is a mutual understanding between reader and writer in much the same way that our real world debates and converses.
One of the things I like about blogs is that they more informal that news - conversational, as Scott put it. It's a good post, well worth reading