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What this means for the future January 17, 2010

Posted by friedgreenbananafish in Assignments, Journalism.
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In the last two installments, we’ve examined why blogging is good for journalism, and why blogging is bad for journalism.  Our own personal views aside, I think we can all agree the blogosphere is going to definitely going to change things.

But how?

Oliver Burkeman of The Guardian says that blogs are, “nimble, constantly updated, opinion-driven internet journals, freed from many of the constraints of the established media.”

But while blogs may be free from the constraints of “the established media,” the reverse is certainly not true.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of the blogosphere ripping mistaken journalists to pieces: 

*Reuters doctoring photos

*The UK Times ‘recycled’ photos 

*Radio & TV channels in Bolivia and Poland falling for hoaxes 

*And on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and (you get the point)

But, the trophy for the blogosphere’s favorite kill goes to:

Rathergate.

Here we had the sketchy, hotly opinionated Free Republic take down Dan Rather, one of the most well-known faces of broadcast journalism.  I mean, the man had been in the business for over 50 years, covering issues like the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal!  

And one little hot-headed blog ended it all.

With this example, we could go on for days arguing whether blogging is good or bad for journalism…

BAD:  It killed Dan Rather!  If it can take him down, we’re all doomed!

GOOD:  Well, maybe the mainstream media will actually fact-check their stories from now on. 

Either way, we have to acknowledge that blogs aren’t going away anytime soon.  But what does that mean for the future?  It means we all need to practice a higher form of journalism.  Maybe instead of rushing around like idiots to get something published, we should actually…

I don’t know…

what’s that word they always use in journalism…

oh yeah…

INVESTIGATE. 

So fact-check your stories, people.  Leave Photoshop to the artists.  And for the love of journalism, USE SPELLCHECK!!!

Because if you don’t, there are plenty of people sitting around their keyboards who will do it for you.

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