Sunday, May 15, 2005

Blogs can serve a useful purpose

A lot is being made these days about whether or not bloggers are journalists. Most broadcast news outlets now have their personalities write blogs in addition to their other duties. CNN now has a whole program where they use airtime to read blogs verbatim - ridiculous. My take? Some blogging is journalism, not in the common sense of today's terms, but rather in the classic, before journalism was taught in universities sense. Before colleges and universities taught a codified system of journalism to students there used to be a free form, sometimes greatly biased variety of journalism. Hell, Thomas Paine used to publish pamphlets that today are considered classic, but in the day were rogue journalism of the highly opinionated variety.

So, to the stodgy people of the world: get with the new/old program. Blogs are publications and some of them do qualify as journalism. Some qualify as nothing more than diaries. Some showcase a creator's knowledge of a topic. Others are nothing more than promotional/marketing tools (like the MSM's blogs featuring their talking heads...oops, I mean, "journalists"). Some blogs attempt to reach a higher goal.

In this paper, one of Shawn's classmates furthers his study of the blogging phenomenom. His focus this time out is on blogs related to the Tsunami disaster last December and how blogs affected the relief efforts, if at all. This is a part of a series this student has begun in exploring the way information, in general, is spread through blogs by noting the useful and not so useful types of information available. It's interesting stuff and highly recommended. The writing is scholarly, but not bogged (blogged?) down in jargon or theory. It's also fairly short in length.

Blogs are tools of communication. They are what we make of them. Whether or not that makes the communication valuable to you is up to the user. I suspect whether or not bloggers are journalists will continue to be i(s)nanely debated for some time now. It really misses the point. The medium is the message, after all. The link above gets it right in that it deals with what sorts of information is transmitted and how our ability to communicate is evolving in this new medium.

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