So this week’s reading was in Dispatches from Blogistan and was entitled “Blogs as Soapboxes.” As I read it, I wasn’t really surprised to find out that the majority of bloggers are still “writing about ‘my life.'” At least, as of July of 2006. There’s this saying you hear a lot in the writing industry, write what you know. It seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many writers (novelists, journalists, bloggers, etc.) struggle and deal with the constant blocks because they just don’t know what they’re writing about, or they just don’t care. I’m not going to lie–I’ve been there many times. So yeah, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that most bloggers are going to write about themselves because well, it’s what they know.
I agree with Stefanac in this chapter when she says most publications will highlight their opinion pages and columnists. I think it’s because readers already know ahead of time that the piece they’re going to be reading isn’t going to try to be objective or unbiased. It’s an opinion piece–the name in itself lets you know that it’s going to be leaning one way or another. Stefanac also points out that “some views carry more weight than others.” She also mentions Walter Cronkite’s reaction to the Vietnam War after his visit and President Johnson’s reaction to that. It’s nice to see that politics are able to realize the impact of people’s opinions.
Stefanac makes the point that it’s important for bloggers to identify themselves. I think that this is important because it adds to a person’s credibility to know what they’ve got invested–or don’t–when they say what they’ve got to say. By remaining annonymous, readers will not know whether the person has nothing to lose with their words or everything to lose. As un-politically correct as it sounds, not all voices in the blogosphere are created equally. Sure, that’s unfair and it sucks. But that’s life–sometimes it’s unfair and sometimes it just plain sucks. Deal with it.
As a journalist, I’ve got to be honest and say that blogs make me a bit wary with the direction the field is taking. I’m not going to talk about how it undermines my training and reason for being in college, I’ve already talked about that here. One thing that makes me view blogs as a not-so-bad thing is that with bloggers and citizen journalists are calling professionals out on their mistakes. This not only pushes us to work harder, but holds us more accountable for our mistakes. It makes us work harder to figure out the truth of the matter. So, for those journalists who are wary about blogging because, as Jamais Cascio says, their work “can’t stand scrutiny,” I suggest that they either shut up or put up. We’ve been putting people on the spot since our profession was born, it was only a matter of time that they returned the favor.
1. If traditional journalism focused more on producing editorial and opinion pieces, while obviously stating that these pieces are not going to be objective, how do you think audiences would react?
2. Why do you think editorial and opinion pages are more popular than hard news pieces?