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Is Blogging Dissident?

November 30, 2007

Blogging and Dissident Media

Society’s advancement of communication technologies creates more outlets for the voices of others to speak their minds and let people know about what is going on. Some of the foundations of this country rely on the ability and freedom to communicate all sides of an issue. As we move forward in the 21st century, people see blogging as the next and newest form of a counter message to society. Blogging faces many challenges in order to accomplish this task.

In an opinion editorial piece in the Los Angeles Times on the 19th of August 2007, Michael Skube wrote about how bloggers create a lot of noise, but do not back up their statements with journalistic style fact-checking. Though Skube’s point may not necessarily be true, Skube’s statement and sentiment brings up a more pressing point about how blogging is treated within mainstream society. The general statement in society is that bloggers are highly opinionated people who yell about issues/problems that may or may not exist.

In an article for the Columbia Journalism Review, Matt Welch writes about how people were fed-up with mainstream media and how ineffective they were at reporting what happened after September 11, 2001. Welch believed that this event caused the explosion of interaction within the blog-sphere. Welch correlates that this explosion of interaction gave blogging more credibility within mainstream media.

The problem with Welch’s position is that he assumes the blog-sphere gained credibility with the increase of bloggers. Welch does not take into consideration the idea that people who blog may not be people who want to be these citizen journalists that take up causes and try to be good journalists and uncover stories. Welch does not take into account people who just want to sound off about an issue and not really fact check or people who blog about personal items or non-political subjects, like sports and entertainment.

This is the quandary blogging faces as it moves on through the century. Blogging has the potential to become a more trust worthy place to receive news and be the new form of dissident media in the world. The major problem would be that those bloggers who try to be legitimate and trust worthy would have to disassociate with other bloggers and become their own entity. But since there is this concept of a blogging community or the blog-sphere, it seems unlikely any rift will occur.

Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University, responded to Skube’s L.A. Times op-ed piece with a counter argument. In the op-ed piece, Rosen listed off more then a dozen names of bloggers who were doing the old school investigative journalism that Skube called for in his op-ed piece.

What will most likely happen is that blogging will become integrated with other social web interactions like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube, creating something that resembles the end of the flash animation Epic 2015. In the flash animation, they predict a huge communications war between Microsoft, the conglomeration of Google and Amazon, and the New York Times. The future of the internet and blogging will be completely personalized to what we want and what we find interesting in the world.

Since this will most likely be the fate of blogging, it would be very difficult to classify blogging as a true dissident medium. If certain respectable blogs were to remove the blog umbrella from their identity, then they would be dissident. But blogging as a whole will not be dissident due to the fact that so many other things encompass blogging.

I personally tried my hand at creating a blog, but the blog only proved my idea about how blogging is not necessarily dissident. It was a sports blog and how I felt about certain issues in the major sports I liked. In no way shape or form was I trying to be dissident with this blog. This was only for my personal amusement and trying my hand at blogging. A lot of times, I did not even feel like writing a post for the blog. It felt like another class assignment I had to do. It also did not help that before coming into this class, I did not read any actual blogs that could be found on blogspot.

My Broadcast Journalism I class also created a blog, but for the shear purpose of posting the podcast we created onto the internet for people to listen to. Our goal was to get this out to as many people as possible. The stories we wrote and talked about were all mainstream stories, but they were taken with more of an alternative flare. Now our podcast is now up on iTunes and everyone can listen to it. So we have become more of an alternative source of mainstream news and not dissident, though we had no intention of being dissident.

The blog-sphere has the potential and desire to be dissident, but due to the over-arching umbrella that blogging covers, it can only become personal information or alternative sources of mainstream media. Dissident media will use the internet and blogging as part of an overall arching concept that the newspaper industry uses by combining print editions, web editions and word of mouth of their story and other information. This is how the new of dissident information will be spread across the world.

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