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Blogging: A Mosaic of Dissident Information

November 30, 2007

Alex Manzanares
Friday, November 30, 2007
Dissident Media
Dr. Walker

Let’s do this! At the beginning of my blogging experience I was as enthusiastic as can be – I was watching CNN more frequently, reading about politics on a regular basis, and even subscribed to receive political news alerts via email. I was doing everything I thought was essential to make my blogging experience, well, “blog-worthy,” but I was missing one critical ingredient– passion. When our class embarked on our collaborative mission to Renew Political Debate, we had all the means to make our blog a success – technological resources, large class involvement, even analysis resources such as Google Analytics, yet we came short in truly creating revolutionary change. We lacked the time, technological knowledge and most importantly the passion. Our success, which is arguably debatable, one face remains true –blogs serve as a voice for the dissident minority.
In a brief analysis of the evolving media, Danna Walker, Ph.D. gives “evidence that Big Media are listening, in a development that’s far beyond a business model that converges the way news is delivered” (Walker). We see this all the time; the protest in Burma was able to communicate their cause through cell phone text messages and information rich blogs. Eventually, their cause was so influential that not only did mainstream media take notice, soon, politicians began to realize the importance of this issue. Even the Jena Six protest in Alabama brought dissident issues from a high school to the forefront of national attention through Web 2.0, type-tactics. Facebook groups, notes, images, video and comments were all part of a collaborative online strike against such discrimination. The use of the Internet has provided ordinary citizens the opportunity to become part of the discussion and active participants in sharing information. Yet, one question still remains unanswered, are everyday citizens “true journalists?”
Many have come to disagree. Take a look at Michael Skube, an opinion writer for the Los Angeles Times, he argues that for stories to be considered true forms of journalism, they “demand time, thorough fact-checking and verification, and most of all, perseverance. It’s not something one does as a hobby” (Skube). With my experience, I have come to disagree. If anything, blogging has promoted the most rigorous compilation of fact checking and critics than the mainstream media would ever be capable of presenting. Bloggers have helped bring dissident issues to the forefront, problems and information that are commonly ignored by the “big five.”
Jay Rosen, a New York University professor was able to fight back to Skube’s argument through explicit examples that promote the true journalistic value of blogs. With the help from some friends, Rosen gives examples of journalism developed by bloggers: “Pet-food scandal ignites blogosphere,” “Firedoglake at the Libby trial,” to even “Citizens constructing Katrina timeline”(Rosen). A group of passionate individuals, interested in finding greater information have become one of the most powerful tools in telling our global story. Thankfully, the present digital age provides practically anyone with the potential of becoming a citizen journalist, a participant in the marketplace of ideas.
While I quickly lost interest in the theme of our blog, I plan to use my experience with Internet marketing, blogging and my role as a participant in a dissident issue to begin a new project of communicating such dissident problems. Passion will serve as my critical ingredient, my fuel to promoting an issue that I’m directly affected by and hope to expand to a mainstream issue, similarly to the examples of the Burma protest and the Jena Six.
Mainstream media has, and continues to forget an important issue that has affected this country for the past two decades. In advent of the AIDS crisis, the lack of scientific evidence, ignorance and stereotypes have fostered a breeding ground that continues to plague a movement for equality. With extensive amounts of research, personal investment on this topic and the potential for saving millions of lives, I hope to present a life-saving strategy to the Food & Drug Administration. In 1973, the Food & Drug Administration imposed a lifetime blood donation ban on men who have sex with men and their partners (FDA). After years of being refused to donate blood, I have become inspired to launch a site that will serve an active role in showcasing this dissident issue. My personal experience as a blogger has helped me understand the immense power of blogging, the means in which statistics are compiled together, how facts are repeatedly checked and most importantly the power of passion to create revolutionary change. While there are numerous companies that scientifically and medically refute this ban, a blog movement similar to the one in this class, can rapidly and effectively showcase an issue on the national agenda, a goal I hope to accomplish as a blogger.

References

“FDA Policy on Blood Donations From Men Who Have Sex with Other Men.” Food & Drug Administration. 23 May 2007. 27 Nov. 2007 .

Rosen, Jay. “The Journalism That Bloggers Actually Do.” Los Angeles Times 22 Aug. 2007. .

Skube, Michael. “Blogs: All the Noise That Fits.” Los Angeles Times 19 Aug. 2007. .

Walker, Danna. “Stunning Media Changes in 2006 Have College Journalism Educators’ Heads Spinning.” Public Eye 4 Jan. 2007.
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