Thursday, May 19, 2005

Recommended Reading: What Really Happens with Weblogs

David Scott has a great nose for many things in our industry, so it was a pleasure to read his recent post on the new Pew Internet and American Life Project Report on Weblogs (PDF format, a bit of a bulky download). David shrewdly picks up on the lack of substantiation in the report for a Reuters story's claims that the report dispels the notion that weblogs are replacing mainstream media outlets. There's this ongoing neurosis in news organizations about being usurped by weblogs, when in fact, as David points out, they play a role in forming news distinct from most traditional journalism. As he notes, "It is better to think of the Web as a huge city teaming with individuals and blogs as the sounds of independent voices just like the street corner soapbox preacher or that friend of yours who always recommends the best books." In short, weblogs are us, the royal "we" of personal content. Some of us even know how to monetize our skills through weblogs, but at the end of the day weblogs are the voices of people that flow into formal news coverage - voices that are not recognized oftentimes as legitimate sources, not attributed as sources or vetted as reliable sources often enough by journalists. To disrespect weblogs as news content sources is to disrespect sources in general and to be tied to the narcissistic journalism that plagues much of our U.S. news media. The news has to spring from somewhere, so it may as well be from people who have the courage to write about events with passion and conviction - and hopefully with facts. But we'll leave that last part to the journalists, won't we...?
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