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Blog, humbug! : Philadelphia Inquirer columnist

April 23, 2006

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jonathan Last takes a swipe at blogs in this morning’s paper.

Blogs can be a real force for good when they act as supra fact-checkers. They can add serious value when they quickly elevate experts in obscure topics to the fore of public discussion…

Balanced against these goods are the pernicious effects of blogs: They elevate analysis over news-gathering; they value speed over judiciousness; and they encourage the practice of journalism to turn in on itself, to tend ever more toward navel-gazing.

A few of his points:

  • Blogs discount news-gathering in favor of news analysis.
  • Blogs have turned us into a world where everyone writes and no one reads.
  • The blog does not value well-crafted writing.

Last raises some good things to think about. But as a society we’re far better off by empowering citizen journalism. This country is founded on free speech. But free speech means little when the average person cannot get their word out. Blogs do this.

In the long run, we’ll see a blending, to some degree, of traditional journalism and citizen journalism. Newspapers losing add revenues are turning to the Internet for growth. The Internet by it’s nature is about interaction and communication. Bloggers, like it or not, play a role in that interaction.

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