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Thread: The Wacky World of Blogging and Professional Journalism

  1. #1 The Wacky World of Blogging and Professional Journalism 
    Forum Freshman Coffee's Avatar
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    First, congratulations. As of this month, after spending a year or two in classrooms and city council meetings and $30,000 or more for tuition, you are all newly minted journalism school graduates! That isn't the same as being journalists, but the distinction doesn't matter to many of you, anyway. In fact, a healthy percentage of your classmates--some 190,000 strong this year--will head directly for jobs in PR, marketing, or entirely unrelated professions which may pay enough to earn back your tuitions. The one trait you all share--assuming you were paying attention--is the ability to effortlessly write a nut graf. Again, congratulations.

    This address isn't for future publicists, and it isn't for the mid-career journalists who took a timeout for nine months, either. They're already halfway down the route. What I really want is to ask the kids (because I was a kid when I graduated j-school and still am, honestly) if they understand exactly what it is they and their parents have just paid for.
    http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/22076/

    What did they pay for? They paid for something that they could do for free. In other words, blogging. Of course, the article mentions the fading of Newspapers and even has a pot shot at Fox News. But that's not what I'm curious about.

    I'm curious about why someone would have faith in the media enough to go to school for it. Obviously we've seen Dan Rather get busted, and recently Newsweek. And bloggers are freaking everywhere repeating everything the media says and making a big deal out of the media screwing up when bloggers screw up just as much. I find the idea insulting that someone can tell the truth when they're getting paid to get good ratings, or, in the internet blog world, hits.

    This leaves me to believe that everyone is full of crap and that mostly all of them need to shut up.

    Edit: Part of this got cut off. Sorry. Here it is.

    But how would we get our news? How about dedicated fact channels that tell you the facts and not the spin? How about a fact written by a non-bias, non-profit organization and not some website that makes you register or have banner ads? Yes, this is turning into a plug for http://www.factcheck.org .

    By the way, the most truth I've seen in months came about by renting the first season of "Penn and Teller's Bullshit".


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    nice idea, the factcheck site. but its a pity they only have american news.

    Still, the problem of facts is that they don't exist. But that belongs in the philosophy section :wink:


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    What blogging offers us, I think, is something similar to what early press offered a couple hundred years ago. Then, anyone with a printing press put out a "rag" or paper, and they suffered from obvious bias. But the fact remained that many independent people were able to say what was on their minds.

    In the 1980s, the nature of the press began to change. Radio and Newspapers began the process of converging, as did television news sources. Now, by the end of the 1990s, and to today, news conglomerates exist that own print, television, and internet media and the number of these conglomerates are few (Rupert Murdoch, et al), leaving very, very few independent outlets.

    That, I think is where the blog comes in. Nobody could have predicted the nature of the internet in 1980, but I think the process has come full circle. The difference of course is the number of people who, both, have opinions and read opinions. The biases are there and the trick is to wade through them. I've been impressed with FactCheck and find it disappointing that they limit themselves to dichometric U.S. politics. I'd like to see a similar organization, or an expansion of FactCheck, that looks at all media stories. But I would imagine that they are far understaffed to undertake such an endeavor.

    So that leaves us. We have to dig and research to find the facts on the subjects we care enough about. We have to ask questions of the authorities that hope to satisfy us with casual information: why? When? Who?

    Unfortunately, we're all involved with our own lives: making a living; paying the car/house note; raising kids; our own jobs/schoolwork; etc. Our time is limited and, to some extent, we are at the mercy of those that care and those that make their livings in politics or policy.

    I read a lot of blogs... even those with whom I disagree. I want to know what my "opposition" thinks and why. Unfortunately, my time spent on them is greatly limited. I have two open right now: I hate Pat Robertson, and Matt Drudge. I'll likely check out the Randi Rhodes blog before heading to work.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Sophomore spidergoat's Avatar
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    Dan Rather told the truth. When the letter about Bush was revealed to be forged, probably by Karl Rove, he admitted it, but the truth of his story did not depend on it.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Junior Cottontop3000's Avatar
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    The biggest problem here is that eventually you will begin to also question the trustworthiness of the facts. You would always have to know exactly who is behind the facts and what their agenda is. As nothing can come from anywhere other than another human being, you should always question everything you read, at least until you can verify the quality of the statements for yourself. And even then, sometimes you have to wonder.
    Death Beckons
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    Forum Junior Cottontop3000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat
    Dan Rather told the truth. When the letter about Bush was revealed to be forged, probably by Karl Rove, he admitted it, but the truth of his story did not depend on it.
    I have a strong feeling that you are right.
    Death Beckons
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  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman Coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat
    Dan Rather told the truth. When the letter about Bush was revealed to be forged, probably by Karl Rove, he admitted it, but the truth of his story did not depend on it.
    I have a strong feeling that you're wrong.

    But this isn't about Bush. This is about journalism. This isn't the politics section either, so let's keep on topic.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Sophomore spidergoat's Avatar
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    Sorry, dude, I am right on topic; politics is a huge part of the problem. For some reason, the few people that own the most popular media outlets refuse to report, or downplay stories that show the present administration in too bad a light. Some journalists were actually paid to present Bush's opinions as their own. The smearing of Dan Rather was a deliberate attempt to discredit a news show that often revealed the messier side of politics, and no group of politicians have more to hide than the cons.

    Also, Penn and Teller are full of crap.
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