As social networks have massively transformed the news industry across the globe in the past decade, journalists are more and more inclined to use these platforms as a source of information. The world of the press has undergone a technological revolution, and people around the world can use blogs and other social media sites to get hold of information immediately, thus allowing them to know what is going on everywhere in the world as it happens. The importance of blogging has been evoked by many journalists, and Andrew Sullivan in his article for the Atlantic underlines the reason to why he and other journalists use blogs. Blogs are so important because they have allowed to constantly push back the limits to which journalism and information is restrained by, abolish the borders of time, place and format, and provide information that is open to everybody, everywhere. For Mr Sullivan, we are in the “golden era” of journalism.
A blog can be open to everyone or can be private, but in either way it is an essential area of sharing, be it information, ideas, or events. Blogs are a place to bring forward new ideas, even opinions that can not be expressed in the local media, due to the necessity of impartiality.
Nowadays, important events are even tweeted/blogged before they are officially published in a newspaper or on a news site, which goes to show the efficiency of social media and especially blogs. Followers can be updated constantly on events that have been blogged by journalists. But as Sullivan underlines, bloggers deadlines are always instantaneous, they have to publish what is happening when it is happening, it is “writing out loud”. Thus we can see that blogs allow a mutual conversation a debate to go on, something that print or broadcast journalism excludes. The format allows individuals to surf and choose information, to express their ideas and to converse on various subjects without limit.
Furthermore blogs offer a general outlook on the world, because the internet is not limited to a certain number of blogs, more and more are emerging everyday, and allow such a diversity of information and ideas. I believe that blogs give a voice to people who in other circumstances wouldn’t be heard.
However, the internet and social media are developing so much and so fast that it is now impossible to control them. Blogs are appearing everyday from every corner of the earth, and how does one tell the legitimate information from the rest? The fact that social media is spiralling out of control is a frightening idea, because in our society, everything gets published, everything goes public eventually, and issues relating to infringement on other people’s private lives is becoming more and more common in the world of media today.
With that many number of blogs available to the world, which one offers the right information? As more and more information can be published by anyone, the accuracy and legitimacy of this is debatable.
Jeremiah Owyang in an article published on his blog that was related to the importance of blogging, explains the benefits of having people share their thoughts and ideas. “It helps me learn” admitted the frequent blogger. Indeed people respond to various posts by adding extra information, which lead to fruitful debates with different perspectives. Not only is this good for the bloggers themselves, but also just for students who follow the conversation without necessarily taking part. It allows us to develop certain ideas on important events that have marked our world and that continue to mark our world. By reading other people’s comments, we learn to form an opinion on what we are against before knowing where we stand.
Furthermore, Owyang admits that blogs are essential to put people out there, the internet being as huge a market as anything, bloggers often capture attention of potential employers, because they expose their ideas their work to the world. Thus journalists can create a network of contacts through the art of blogging, something essential to any journalist hoping to succeed in the society today.
As social media continues to evolve every minute, newspapers transform their format and result to online articles, blogs, and rss feeds to portray the daily spread of events that are happening around the globe. Easy to navigate, and choose the information that one wants, blogs allow journalists, students, and people in general to read only what interests them.
To add to this, Akshay Aggarwal underlined in an article on social media, that blogs allow the promotion/advertisement of certain things. Small newspapers that are emerging can be promoted on a blog, as it is an efficient way to get information out to a broad public in little time.
Another journalist who values the art of blogging for journalists is the Londoner Adam Westbrook who insists on the fact that blogs help generate a recurrent audience and expose ideas, subjects that aren’t necessarily covered by big media companies, and therefore enrich the quantity of information exposed on the internet.
However, the utility of blogs is to be nuanced. Indeed we evoked previously the problem of this abundance of information that is impossible to control. Blogs can be used in a bad way, they allow everyone to express their ideas, but can be a source of conflict between different cultures, religions, races…If everyone has a right to be heard, some people use this right in a way that harms others. For example, a video was posted via social media on YouTube, criticising the Islamic religion, and generated social uproar in the Middle East. A simple phrase, picture, video can give birth to bigger deeper problems.
An important blog for journalists to follow is Fagstein’s. It is a crucial source of information for journalists and students because it doesn’t just offer the simple facts, it analyses topics that are at the heart of the media today.
A particular poignant blogging that marked me from Fagstein’s blog can be found at the following link: http://blog.fagstein.com/2012/09/06/metropolis-shooting/
The entry treats the issue of the tragic shooting of Denis Blanchette during the elections of early September. Fagstein offers his perspective on the incident and asks people to tone down their dramatic condemnation of the issue and of the Parti Quebecois. Fagstein has a way of putting in perspective situations that are hotly debated in the media, and not only blogs in English but also in French.
Other blogs that are useful for journalists students are particularly MediaWire, because of the abundance of articles that can be found here, as well as comments and conversations at the end of each article, which helps students develop a critical mind.
Reportr.net is a blog which discusses the advantages of social media such as twitter, facebook and others for journalists.
Media Blog is a site that covers divers events that have happened recently and another good blog for journalists.