Media Criticism Spring 2012

Part 1: Deconstructing Super Bowl Ads

Re-Blogging

Posted on | April 26, 2012 | No Comments

According to Ken Doctor (2010), the author of Newsonomics, the 7th out of 12 laws he determines that are shaping our news world today is how Reporters are now becoming more avid bloggers. It seems like any credible news reporter also has their own blog-site where they write stories sometimes twice or more a week. The reason behind why the blogging craze became so popular among reporters is because according to Doctor (2010), “Reporters could produce more content when they dropped their journalistic shoulders a bit, worried less about convention and structure, and just wrote”( p.129). With this point in mind, journalists and reporters are beginning to catch on to this era of blogging because it is a much more open, free, and conversational style of writing where they can talk about anything they desire. Where as in a newsroom, unless you are a very established journalist, you are normally assigned to a certain “beat” or topic of writing.

In an article called Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other, author J.D. Lasica describes blogs as “participatory journalism” and “personal media”. Lasica also says, “Simply put, it refers to individuals playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, sorting, analyzing and disseminating news and information—a task once reserved almost exclusively to the news media” (Lasica, 2003).  While reading this article by Lasica, I came across an interesting point that I did not know about many reporters. Since this article was published in 2003, it is a little dated and the opinions of blogging from reporters has changed over time. Lasica said, “Many traditional journalists are dismissive of bloggers, describing them as self-interested or unskilled amateurs. Conversely, many bloggers look upon mainstream media as an arrogant, elitist club that puts its own version of self interest and economic survival above the societal responsibility of a free press” (Lasica, 2003). According to this quote from Lasica, Reporters and Bloggers were not too fond of each other 9 years ago, however in today’s economy, blogging is more widely accepted and quite common for reporters because the web is indeed an access to free information, making it cheaper for many news companies to turn to blogging to save some extra cash.

There are many reporters from very credible news establishments that use blogging sites daily to self-promote and to also promote the company they work for. For example, New York Times reporter David Carr has his own blog site where he writes about media. According to Doctor (2010), “Blogs are in their infancy at the Times, but they already represent about 5 percent of the Times site’s traffic“(pp.133). So what this quote means is that even though blogs are still in its early ages for many popular news organizations, the attention they are getting from these blogs is pretty large given the fact that blogging is still being introduced into many news companies. Five percent of traffic going to individual reporters’ blog sites is a pretty large number given how popular the New York Times is.

Blogs are not only being used as a means for reporters to self-promote and write freely, but reporters are also depending on different blogs to gain a wide perspective on other people’s work in order to gain a better insight and also remain objective throughout other writing for news. In an article called “Is Blogging Innovative Journalism?, author Patrick Baltatzis (2006) said, “Blogs are goldmines for journalists doing professional and crafted work. The blogosphere is a huge source to tap… for new ideas, arguments and leads to new stories and for follow-ups on stories on other sites.”

In the short time period of about 9-10 years, blogging has taken on a new face for reporters. What used to be seen as an “amateur” or a “wanna-be” place for people who wanted to be reporters, blog sites are now being used by reporters who also write articles for their area of work. Reporters use blog sites for means of free writing without structure (Doctor, 2010), but they also use blogs to help support arguments, find leads for new stories, and even find follow-ups for other previous stories. This whole concept of the change of attitude towards blogs is just one way to show how media changes at such fast paces. Keeping up with something that may seem new or amateur is now looked at as a strategic tool for many news companies and reporters in order to gain insight on the fast growing media world. In many ways, blogging has become a sort of “script” or a “guide to action” (Wood, 2010). In Julia T. Wood’s book, Interpersonal Communication: Every Day Encounters, “Scripts consist of sequences of activities that are expected of us and others in particular situations. They are based on our experiences of interaction in various contexts”(pp.69). To me, in the eyes of a reporter, a script or the guide to action is always changing. There is always a way a reporter reacts to certain situations, but in this case, the script of conforming to new norms of media outlooks are what reporters really need to focus on. Before blogging became recognized as a tool for reporters it was shunned. Now, I see reporters forming a script to accept these new forms of media as they continue to grow, and use them as a tool rather than a form of amateurism.

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