13 March 2006
Blogs are an addition, not threat to media
The third annual review of the state of American journalism, by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, has found that there are more media outlets than ever. However, despite this, the institute found that they were covering less news. The study found that only 1% of blogs involved a blogger interviewing someone else and only 5% involved some other original work, such as examining documents.
"More coverage, in other words, does not always mean greater diversity of voices," the study said. "Consuming the news continuously does not mean being better informed."
While this study laments the amplification of the same stories it is fails to recognise in many ways the importance of the blogosphere. Traditionally American journalism has worked hard to present their media outlet as fair and unbiased, in contrast to British newspapers which openly side with political parties. However, people want to hear other people’s opinions and how they interpret news stories – even if it is the same story that they have watched or read about. Increasingly it is also becoming obvious that networks like Fox News were presenting a very one-sided analysis of the news and traditionally liberal news stations were failing to question any government decisions. As a result liberal blogs became an important outlet for people to vent their anger and form their own opinion of the news. Rather then look at the wide variety of news sources as ‘overkill’ the media must realise that it provides an opportunity for people to form a true opinion of the news bases on numerous sources.
Additionally, I'm rather surprised that as many 5% of the seemingly endless number of blogs contained original content. Blogs were never meant to be about breaking news and, contrary to some opinion, should not be seen as a threat to the mainstream media. The role of the blog is to provide further analysis and debtate on the day's news and issues. The mainstream media is always going to be about breaking the news. Instead of seeing them as a challenge to conventional media, newspapers should revel in the number of people reading them and wanting to debate their content. Blogs are a new addition to the mainstream media and will never be a replacement.