Dan Rather: Journalism has ‘lost its guts’

Blogging’s not the enemy, says Dan Rather.

By Daniel Terdiman
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

newsmaker AUSTIN, Texas–If any figure from the world of mainstream journalism could be forgiven for nursing a grudge toward new media, Dan Rather comes to mind.

The longtime news anchor had his career prematurely shortened after bloggers drew attention to an erroneous document used by CBS as the basis of a report on President Bush’s National Guard service. CBS later disavowed the report, and Rather, who issued an on-air apology, was soon out the door.

But Rather has revived his career working with Internet entrepreneur Marc Cuban’s HDNet. In a one-on-one with CNET News.com at the South by Southwest multimedia festival here, this born-again cyberjournalist offered his views on how journalism is evolving in the digital era and the challenges he thinks the profession will face.

Q: Did you see blogging as a serious journalistic endeavor before the CBS dustup over President Bush’s military record?
Rather: Some parts of it I did. As I’ve said many times, I think it’s very easy to generalize about blogging, which is a big sphere, and growing bigger every day. But there were parts of it I considered to be serious. Anybody who blogs, who does real reporting, which is to say, make telephone calls, go interview people, go talk to people, in a spirit of independence…and (tries) to do journalism with integrity, I would consider a journalist.

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