Web-logging, sorry, ‘Blogging’ is rapidly becoming the way our society gets it news, information, and entertainment. Gone are the days when the only time to get the news were during the breakfast newspaper reading or the evening news. Here are the days when the internet has turned every average citizen into a certified news journalist. This new title that all citizens have acquired does not site well with everyone however. Those in the journalism community (and by journalism I mean broadcast and print journalists who have formal training and are paid for their work) have taken issue with the unchecked, free-marketization of the news by bloggers.
Is blogging a form of dissident media? Are bloggers treading on journalistic territory? Should bloggers even be taken seriously?
The simple answer to all of these questions is ‘YES’. Blogging is most certainly a form of dissident media because it circumvents traditional news outlets and brings views, ideas, and opinions to the public on issues that the MSM (mainstream media) would normally stay away from. Nothing is off limits in the blogosphere. Yes, bloggers are impeding on traditional journalism by taking news stories and running with them before the MSM has time to filter it down to a package ready for airing, but this is simply the way our society is heading.
“Many of the most active bloggers are insistent partisans in political debate. Some reject the label ‘journalist,’ associating it with what they contemptuously call MSM; just as many, if not more, consider themselves a new kind of ‘citizen journalist’ dedicated to broader democratization (Skube 2007).”
Blogging is a serious medium that is now beginning to be taken very seriously, mainly because of the stories that are being broken by bloggers that greatly impact society. These ‘citizen journalists’ are breaking stories that would have otherwise been left uncovered.
In February of this year, a blogger broke a story about a young NASA scientist who had been highly publicized for his merits and age as a NASA employee who actually had lied on his resume. This was huge because the MSM had reported that the man did in fact do the things that this blogger found to be untrue (Rosen 2007).
Another blogger uncovered the fact that a member of the White House press core was living a double life as a gay male escort. This White House staff member was later dismissed due to the bloggers efforts (digg.com).
Who is to say that these stories would not have been broken by the MSM in the blogger’s absence? The fact of the matter is there are millions of bloggers and only a fraction of traditional news personnel (or MSM). But what is becoming of the dissident underground blogger movement in the face of such a boom in the blogosphere.
“Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, whose popular blog Daily Kos has been a force among anti-war activists, cautioned bloggers ‘to avoid the right-wing acronym MSM.’ It implies, after all, that bloggers were on the fringe. To the contrary, he wrote, ‘we are representatives of the mainstream, and the country is embracing what we’re selling.’ (Skube 2007).”
The convergence of traditional news media and blogging is ushering in a new wave of news coverage. Many (if not all) of the local news stations and even some national news stations are allowing/forcing their on-air talents to publish their own blogs in an effort to steal viewer-ship from the online blogging community. Print and broadcast journalism are slowly but surely seeing that bloggers actually bring something to the ‘journalistic table’; mainly “four things: personality, eyewitness testimony, editorial filtering, and uncounted gigabytes of new knowledge (Welch 2003).”
Overall, the blogging community has created a medium for any and everybody to contribute to the news gathering and information sharing network that is the blogosphere. What was once and some stay still is considered dissident, blogging is creeping its way in the mainstream and will soon be the driving force behind the way the average person gets their information.