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Posts Tagged ‘Blogs’

Look at Blogs!

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

I have to be honest, I’m not sure where to start after reading Look at Me! by Maureen Tkacik (also known as Moe Tkacik).

Let’s start with Jezebel.  I don’t know if any of you actively read Jezebel, but I’ve followed off and on since it launched in 2007.  (I mean, come on.  With a tag line of “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women” how could you not follow the site?)  Anyways, I had never put much thought into the origins of the site, other than I knew it was related to Gizmodo (which is another good site).  I found Tkacik’s article very interesting because of the her ties to Jezebel.

One point that especially stood out to me was this bit from Tkacik on the subject of her blogs at Jezebel: “But the real revelation, to me at least, was that the readers who came for Faith Hill returned for posts about the Iranian insurgency, the foreclosure crisis, military contracting, campaign finance, corporate malfeasance, the global food crisis—essentially whatever I found outrageous or absurd or interesting on a given day.”

Tkacik goes on to say, “This enabled me to more honestly confront feminist pieties and hypocrisies, write more vividly and confidently, and perhaps even challenge the stereotypes about ‘women who write about shit that happened to them.'”

Andrew Sullivan (Tkacik even mentions Sullivan in her article) also gives an insight to blogging in his article, Why I Blog.  With tomorrow (or today depending on when I get this submitted) being September 11, it’s interesting to look at what Sullivan wrote regarding 9/11.  He says, “On my blog, my readers and I experienced 9/11 together, in real time. I can look back and see not just how I responded to the event, but how I responded to it at 3:47 that afternoon. And at 9:46 that night. There is a vividness to this immediacy that cannot be rivaled by print.”

Blogs offer so many different avenues than traditional print media.  No, not all blogs are journalistic in nature, but there are a lot that are journalistic.  Sullivan points out one of the greatest things about blogs is that the readers are instantly a part of the conversation with the author.  How many times have you picked up a newspaper and had immediate access to the reporter after reading the story?  I’d guess never.  And if you do want to “comment” you have to write a letter to the editor where it will be edited before publication.  Blogs aren’t like that.  You get to say what you want when you want.  It becomes personal (Sullivan likens the relationship between blogger and readers to a friendship).

More personal is more humanizing.  Tkacik makes an excellent point in regard to making journalism personal.  She says, “By humanizing journalism, we maybe can begin to develop a mutual trust between reader and writer that would benefit both.”

Tkacik was able to write about things close to her and form a “brand” without giving up too much of who she really was.  She saw the darker side of journalism where reporters cater to the advertisers and parent companies and let themselves become too absorbed in that world.  I agree with her statement about training journalists to use their own experiences to help share the news.  When we share news with friends and family, don’t we always incorporate some little personal tid bit?

Tkacik also admits the incorporation of experience and storytelling is “a lot easier to do with the creative liberties afforded by a blog…”

Blogs aren’t going anywhere.  They’re here to stay.  They’re here to skirt the line of pure information and opinion.  They’re here to engage conversation.  Sure, journalism still isn’t quite sure how to handle blogs, but I believe it’s getting a better idea of how they fit into the overall journalistic picture.

-MM

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It’s Alive!! Or is it?

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment

In a 2008 article from the The New Yorker titled Out of Print: The death and life of the American newspaper, Eric Alterman brings up several points regarding journalism that are still relevant today.

One point Alderman brings up is “the nature of ‘news’ itself.”  He says, “The American newspaper (and the nightly newscast) is designed to appeal to a broad audience, with conflicting values and opinions, by virtue of its commitment to the goal of objectivity.”  Since the news has become so broad, are we really getting news or just extended headlines where if we want more information, we have to seek it out ourselves?

He also brings up the fact that many newspaper policies forbid reporters or staff to “voice their opinions publicly, march in demonstrations, volunteer in political campaigns, wear political buttons, or attach bumper stickers to their cars.”  Check out the Chattanooga Times Free Press ethics policy for an example of such restrictions.  Since this article has been written, a more recent issue probably added to ethics policies (in careers other than journalism, too) is social media profiles and posts.

Alderman also says many journalists “discount the notion that their beliefs could interfere with their ability to report a story with perfect balance.”  Objectivity seems to be a topic of constant debate within journalism.  Are they left?  Are they right?  What are they really trying to say?  No journalist is 100% objective–it’s simply impossible.  However, I believe there are journalists who are definitely better at it than others.  Objectivity also leads into questions of trust.  Can we trust where we get our news?  Alterman’s article claims most American don’t trust the news.  And cases like these don’t help the trust issues.  Do cases like those distort the image of how many journalists fabricate or copy things?–Much like does constant reporting on violent crimes lead to a distorted image of how often violent crimes actually happen?

I do not own this image. It is a stock photo, and you can get it here.

And finally, the topic of the Huffington Post was interesting.  Huffington Post is a site I use to get a large percentage of my news, but I had never really taken note of its early stages.  When Alterman’s article was written, it seemed HuffPost was still trying to find its niche on the Internet.  Was it going to be news?  Gossip?  Blogs?  Contributions?  It appears since this article’s 2008 release, the HuffPost has become much more news-oriented (even winning a Pulitzer in 2012).  Yes, the site still offers an extremely wide variety of blogs and contributions, it has definitely taken a more newsworthy shape in the last four years and appears to have made major growth in employees and reporters.  Although a lot of people still visit the site for the blogs, some people (like me) visit for the news, and I believe it was a smart move on the HuffPost to begin catering to a more “newsy” site rather than all blogs.

So with all the changes and advances in the last decade, is the newspaper dead?  I don’t believe so.  No, it may not always be the newspaper as we know it now–printed on the thick paper with the ink that turns your fingers black, but that’s because it’s evolving–going through it’s own form of Darwinism.  Who knows?  Maybe the newspaper will join the dinosaurs and become extinct, or maybe it will continue to evolve.

-MM

New Sites

August 28, 2012 1 comment

After finding the site mentioned in my previous post, and then seeing a site mentioned in our syllabus for Multimedia Writing, I thought this list might be worth sharing with everyone.

Yes, I realize the list was posted in 2009, but that doesn’t mean the sites on the list are any less valuable in the world of Multimedia Journalism.  I haven’t had the opportunity to view each site listed in depth.  However, I did glance through duckrabbit, and it may be something I start checking regularly along with the Interactive Narratives.

Oh, and are you looking for more of Phillip Toledano’s story about his family from my last post?  Check this out.

-MM

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