Opinions & Editorials

Opinion: World wide web of journalists unite

By Nick Squires

Blogging has come a long way in a short amount of time. From political blogs offering a personal point of view on national issues contrary to those of traditional media — to online journals full of idiosyncratic rants about what the blogger ate that day complete with mood emoticons. But blogs are still fighting to be taken seriously in the online community and society at large.

“Blogging has come a long way from its modest beginnings,” Kara Jesella wrote in a July 2008 New York Times story. “These days, there is money to be made, fame to be earned and influence to be gained.”

What can we expect from blogs?

Reading someone’s blog is like talking to people in cyberspace — you may never know what their underlying agenda may be and sarcasm is often lost in the type. Blogs offer authors an opportunity to write as they like while the reader can make their own decisions on the validity of the author’s arguments and the quality of their writing.

“I like that they’re free, and available to anyone with Internet access,” professor Cynthia McCune said in the keynote address at the 2008 Journalism Association of Community Colleges NorCal conference at San Jose State University.

People from every walk of life create blogs. Industries of all types are becoming more and more interested in this new media as an advertising outlet. By allowing ads on their blogs, bloggers have turned their online opinions into careers, with questions of journalistic integrity and literal qualifications validated by a paycheck. Blogs are promoted as the new personal form of media which integrates itself within our electronic obsession in this age of technology.

Blogs give us the choice to receive information at the click of a button, and to be relayed to us from someone whose voice we enjoy. For this reason, blogs have become popular.

Not to say that blogs are not taken seriously. Josh Wolf spent 226 days in prison for refusing to cooperate with authorities, who wanted him to disclose information about a video of a G8 Summit protest in 2005, which he had posted on his blog. This case proved that bloggers are subject to the same journalistic laws and standards as other media outlets and added to bloggers cultural recognition.

One issue which cannot be debated: blogs are cheap and easy to maintain, and can be updated quickly.

Arianna Huffington’s Huffington Post blog is constantly updated, and was particularly helpful and informative when the Post fact-checked statements during the presidential debates, and made updates available up to the minute. Blogs offer readers a chance stay immersed in content, and can operate in a more productive manner than printed media.

The bottom line is blogs must be taken at face value. It is up the author to provide the blog’s worth.

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