SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript"> < We Blog: February 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My new exercise

I totally agree with Steven Johnson that TV is good for you. I think that it definately CAN make you dumber, (I'm talking about pretty much every show on MTV. Seriously, those shows are so worthless it makes me sick) but it's so much more fun to learn from television and movies, and I think that's better because it keeps my attention, something really difficult for a lot of people. I read in an article back in high school (which I've been unable to find) that this multimedia generation is actually spawning children with so far unheard of hand-eye coordination. Think about it, skilled musicians and artists taking the arts to new places, or better even advanced surgery from more skilled surgeon. This article's hypothesis: computers and video games are breeding a generation of kids with the most intricate hand-eye coordination, and so in tuned with detail.
For this round of posting, I decided to try a little poetry. It's not really my thing, but I thought it would get my brain working in a new way. That is the task for today, right?

Blog-itation exercise

Steven Johnson ("Use the Blog, Luke") got a good bit of attention last year upon publication of his book Everything Bad Is Good For You. Steven Shaviro, a professor at Wayne State University, offered a in-depth and balanced review of the book last May, beginning with this overview:

As its title and subtitle indicate, Everything Bad Is Good For You is a polemical defense of the value of contemporary popular culture. Johnson contests the all-too-often repeated claims that American popular culture is vile and debased, that it appeals to the lowest common denominator, that it is all about sensationalistic exploitation and dumbing down. He argues, instead, that popular culture is actually making us smarter, in ways that can even be quantified by intelligence tests and the like. Johnson’s method of analysis is basically McLuhanesque; that is to say, he pays attention to the medium rather than the message; or (in the Deleuze/Guattari terms that he cites briefly in an appendix) to what works of popular culture do rather than what they mean, what connections they make rather than what symbols they deploy, or what ideologies they express. Rather than lamenting any alleged decline from print/books/literature to the various multimedia modes in vogue today, he asks the McLuhanite question of how these new media engage us, what modes of perception, action, and thought they appeal to and incite, and how this makes for a qualitative difference from print/literary sensibilities.

What do new media forms *do* to us? How do they work on our brains, on our emotional states? Asking these questions presume that spending time interacting with a new media will *do* something to you: it can even make you smarter!

With that assumption in mind, I would like to encourage you in your blogging to try out new things. My fellow writing teacher blogger, Jeff Rice, (also, coincidently, at Wayne State) recently published a short essay arguing that blogging as a medium demands experimentation: none of us really knows what a blog is. We have to play around to figure out what can be done. He cites Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow's group blog, as an example of the good things that can happen when you let yourself experiment:

Some of the most provocative and exciting weblogs are, in fact, those that experiment with content and form: Boing Boing’s daily juxtapositions of Internet oddities and current events, Warren Ellis’ s explorations of fetish, comic book culture, sci-fi, and related topics, Oliver Wang’s Soul-Sides, an archival replay of forgotten soul tracks (and which incorporates music into the blogging experience), dETROITfUNK’s photographic exploration of Detroit’s ruins, forgotten sites, and surprising charms, Wonderland’s mixture of game related and consumer items, and Drawn’s highly visual, daily updates of cartoon and graphic art developments are but a few blogs functioning in a fairly experimental manner. By experimentation, and not by seriousness, they explore how blogging may change or enhance their interests.

With the goal of experimenting and potentially positively effecting the way you relate to the onslaught of information represented on the web, I would like to ask you to spend part of classtime today composing an experimental series of posts. You can mimic what Boing Boing does, or you can do something else. Whatever it is, make it unlike any of your previous posts in the way it manipulates the medium of blogging.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blogging and journalism

Today's assignment was to consider the relationship between blogging and journalism. As both a budding blogger and aspiring journalist, I'm a little torn. I like blogging, I like journalism. I don't want either to disappear, nor do I want one to be revered over the other.

Of the articles assigned, Staci D. Kramer's "Journos and Bloggers: Can Both Survive?" resonated most with me. Instead of forcing debates of which is better or whether blogging should replace journalism, Kramer refuses to see the two as separate entities. Here she puts it best:
The constant drum beat of the notion that blogging and journalism are mutually exclusive -- that one can or will replace the other, that one is better than the other, that they don't require each other to exist -- damages all involved.
Recognizing that the two mediums are unique yet interdependent certainly appeases my thoughts, but is there truth in it? I'm pretty sure there is, and so is Kramer. Later on in her article, she lists things that bloggers and journalists can learn from each other:

What journalists can learn from bloggers:
-- you can blur the line between the personal and professional without corrupting the process;
-- you can learn to improvise in real time;
-- how to have a conversation with their readers;
-- to be humble - you don't know everything.

Bloggers can learn from journalists:
-- the value of leg work;
-- the nature of accountability;
-- that editing is a good thing;
-- to be humble - you don't know everything.

These are all valuable points on both ends, especially for those wearing press hats. That first point, that you can blend the personal and professional, is especially important, and from my assessment, effective.

Take the Missourian's account of the events that culminated with Quin Snyder's resignation. Our classmate and a lead reporter said the story was the best of any paper that Sunday, and I tend to agree. He and his co-writer could have easily recounted the events in a traditional, inverted pyramid news-story format. Instead, Columbians got a easy to read narrative full of clear voice and conversational dialogue. Using blog-entry characteristics, the Quin reporters turned the article into a true story.

And the first on the list for blogger lessons holds some weight, too. Look at Jim Robertson's blog at the Columbia Tribune. He posted two entries on Jan. 30, the second merely to report information he missed in his first attempt at research. A little more leg work the first time around could have helped his point.

(cross-posted from a melange)

Blogging as an Editorial Form

Who is to say what role blogging will play in journalism?

Megan pointed out that if you watch a 24 hour news network you will find punditry everywhere. The question here is: Are the pundits the journalists?

I think, in the purest sense of the word, no. The mediator would seem to be the journalist. This, to some extent, is supposed to be the information gathering stage.

The 24-hour news networks have slightly corrupted journalism. Conflict draws ratings and having two people yell at each other on national television is "entertaining."

Thus far, it seems that in many ways blogging is an extension of that. In many cases, the news blogs will have an angle. As it is, the blogs must begin to have some accountability.

However, this does not discount the blogs worthiness to journalism. The editoral page has long been the place in the newspaper where where reporting stops and the conversation begins.

This is where blogs usefulness to journalism can really be found. The conversation on blogs is unlike what can be found in other forms of media.

I don't think that blogs will ever replace The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, but I would say that this does not seem to be blogs intentions.

Therefore, I would say blogging can play an important role in journalism. However, just as with the editorial page, the engaged reader must be able to seperate actual reporting from editorializing.

Blogs and Mass Media

Something I have been thinking about after reading the articles is MASS media. I am not attempting to discount blogs as journalism by any means. I definetly think that some blogs can be considered serious journalism. However, one of the abilities that mass media outlets, such as television news and newspapers, have over blogs is the ability to literally reach masses. Although the internet is available to everyone, not everyone utilizes it. (I know this brings up a hot journalism topic of Broadcast Journalism as "real" journalism- but I think we'll leave that for a different class at a different time.)

The example that I am thinking of is James Frey and his Oprah Book Club scandal. Although broke the story, mass media resources delivered it to masses of people. I didn't read about the scandal on their website, I heard about it on the news. So I guess what I am trying to expresses is that although blogging can be counted as a form of journalism, I don't think it will surpass traditional media sources. I think the way the two- being blogs and traditional media- work with each other provides for interesting conversation.

Blogging as Journalism

I like the point JL makes in the previous post about opinion in blogging. I think this is one of the key issues with respect to the differences between blogging and journalism. That is not to say that blogging can't be journalism, just that most of it isn't. And, I am wary to trust blogs on the whole as a form of journalism as the majority are not journalism.

In the article Lasica says, "Weblogging will drive a powerful new form of amateur journalism as millions of Net users — young people especially — take on the role of columnist, reporter, analyst and publisher while fashioning their own personal broadcasting networks." I think that depends on how loose your definition of "amateur journalism" is.

Perhaps we can turn to The Elements of Journalism, a leading text on the guiding principles of the field, written by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel. In an article on the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the book is outlined. Kovach and Rosenstiel offer the following pillars on which journalism stands: truth, journalists' loyalty to citizens, verification/accuracy, a monitor of power, comprehensive and proportional, a responsibility to conscience. We can put blogging against these to find how like and unlike blogging and journalism are. For brevity, I'll comment on only a few points.

The article restates Kovach and Rosentstiel's argument that journalism should "separate itself [journalism] from entertainment, propaganda, fiction and art." In contrast, I think blogging often blurs the boundaries of these different arenas, splashing in entertaining opinion, art, or embellishments that make "blog news" more exciting than traditional news.

Additionally, blogs are likely, in sum, very comprehensive and proportional. Individually, however, most blogs do not strive to equally represent both (or all) sides of an issue, rather blogs often offer substantial evidence and argument on one side.

On the positive side, blogging does, arguably more so than journalism itself, offer what Kovach and Rosenstiel call "a voice to the voiceless" in that blogging has much less costly and time consuming barriers to entry than would, say, owning your own television channel or broadcast station.

So is it journalism? I think not. Unfortunately, though, I think we are afraid to admit it isn't for fear that it belittles what we as bloggers do, it belittles our cause. I think blogging and journalism can go hand in hand; they can help and build off of one another. But, that does not mean that blogging is journalism and it does not mean that it must be considered so to be valued.

Update: cross-posted at Look to the Sky

Good Night and Good Luck

This week's topic about blogging and journalism reminded me of George Clooney's recent film Good Night, and Good Luck. The movie chronicles Edward R. Murrow's 1950's challenge to Senator Joe McCarthy's Communist hearings. Although this film is about that era in American politics and culture, it is relevant to our current debate about media editorializing. At one point, Murrow is discussing his first show regarding McCarthy with one of his producers. The contention of the producer is that Murrow's planned commentary does not portray the facts objectively but is instead a direct editorial on McCarthy's actions. This struck me because we live in the age of the television pundit. Not only are people paid to editorialize, we expect when we turn on FOX or CNN or MSNBC to hear opinion journalism.

Whether or not editorializing is good in the news or not I really have no opinion. There are others in this class that have much more experience with journalism and journalistic ethics, who can expound on this issue. The point is that I never realized the complexity of the debate. Is responsible journalism portraying the facts for the audience to interpret? Or is it challenging the status quo by presenting cohesive arguments for or against a particular issue? Or is it some of both?

To relate this back to blogging, I thought the movie captured a moment in television history that is akin to our present moment in Internet history. Murrow was an established television journalist exploring the possibilities of television to engage its audience intellectually, politically, and socially. His challenge of McCarthy was not based on a pro-communist platform, instead it was focused on the inflamatory rhetoric and scare tactics behind McCarthy that were causing people, journalists included, to exist in fear to the point of self-censure. Murrow posed the questions in his broadcasts and left the answering to his viewers. I think blogging operates in a similar way. Most bloggers do not blog objectively, most present their opinion very clearly. But the medium allows for easy and quick debate over these topics. If the original post offers one viewpoint, when the comments are added in a fuller picture of an issue results. Basically a blog allows what Murrow's broadcasts lacked, a chance for the audience to respond.


Comments on blogging as journalism articles

I thought there were some interesting ideas presented in the articles about blogging as a form of journalism. In the first article, Paul Andrews and Deborah Branscum talk about the rise of blogging as a form of journalism, and give various reasons for their beliefs. I agree that blogging is booming, largely because of what Branscum refers to as "instantaneity." She writes that, "with a Weblog, you hit the send key and it's out there. It's the perfect disposable journalism for our age." I think this is particularly true because of one point Robert Niles makes in his article. He says, "when I ask students how many have read the newspaper or watched TV news within the past day, few hands go up. But every students acknowledges having gone online within the day to read the news. Even if few have considered a job in online journalism, in my experience, today's students implictly understand that medium better than they do print and broadcast." I find that in my journalism classes, and in my circle of friends this is overwhelming true. Almost everyone I know goes FIRST to the internet to learn about breaking news. Some rarely ever pick up a newspaper or tune in to broadcast news. Here I think online news sources and news blogs are really breaking through. I disagree though with Paul Andrews assertion that "the Web is actually becoming more credible while established media are losing ground." While I think people may go first to their favorite blog to find out what's happening, I think the New York Times Online and the's of the world wide web are still the ultimate destination because of the credibility associated with those news sources. (Cross posted)

Monday, February 20, 2006

For today's reading we learned that blogging can help journalism and journalism can help blogging. Some could say that this lesson could be applied to all walks of life and that the theme should be shared among everyone in the world. But here's my rant against sharing.

J.D. Lasica's piece
  • Blogging as a Form of Journalism
  • states that you can get the true side of the issue with blogging because it allows people to give the side of the story that the big media doesn't cover. It allows people to voice their side of the story.

    Thanks for opinion, but I really don't think this is the case. 'Good" journalism is supposed to remain unbias towards reporting stories. And I think for the most part journalists do a good job with this. I think the accusations that people make against the media aren't really fair because people really hear what they want to hear. Even if someone's opinion is touched upon and not stated enough for someone's liking they will say that their opinion is being suppressed, but it is pointed out. And maybe the other side's opinion isn't overtly stated as well. You never hear someone say that their opinion is said, but neither is the other side.

    Look, if you want bias news you can find it. Republicans have Fox News, and Democrats seem to have everything else. And that works, but most journalists practice some sort of transperancy in their reporting.

    Blogs on the other hand don't even try to hide their opinions. People who have webcams and show up at some rally or protest aren't trying to find the opposing side's opinion. And that's ok. Bloggers don't have to show both sides of a story. That's their right, but let's not demolish journalists by saying that their work can be enhanced by bloggers. No one will ever have all the information, but as long as people realize that what journalists do is astounding in the spectrum of information.

    Stuff about blogging

    (as if I knew anything)--Okay, so blogging is something I definitely never thought I would do until I got into this class. I think a friend of mine blogged his trip to Europe last year, but when I heard about his "blog" I didn't know exactly what it was a reference to. It was a word that sounded like "blob" but was in some way facilitated via the information superhighway. Now that I am an amateur blogger myself, I can see why people get into these things, especially when they are communicating with friends or family from long distances. My number one problem with blogging at this point is my life is much the same today as it has been for the past several years. I therefore have a hard time picking out salient details that strike me as inspiring to write about. I'm going with the St. Louis Blues right now. One thing that's nice about sports is that it always offers something to write about, for periods of months at a time. Another nice thing about sports, as a good friend of mine so eloquently put it, is that they have absolutely nothing to do with anything that's going on in the real world. Is it any wonder so many people find such meaningful escapism in the accomplishments of superhuman athletes? I certainly don't think so.
    While the NHL is inactive for the next couple weeks, I may well be reduced to writing about the goings on in my personal life. Steve's Hamster's Wheel analogy is a particularly apt one, I think, but if hamster's had poetical or literary tendencies it is conceivable they would write about running on those skinny little bars--and all the glory and the agony that accompany.
    Someday I want to take a trip to a foreign country, just (okay, well not "just") so I can start a blog and write about things being totally different, and know that people back home will actually read it sometimes and be interested in it.

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Tip: Order of Posts

    Someone in the class recently asked why entries post alphabetically or according to when you started the draft rather than when you post it. Many of you may already know this. If so, stop reading now. I, however, just figured out that when you make draft, there is a little link below the window where you type (in the cream-colored bottom bar) that says "Post and Comment Options." If you click on that you can change the time of the post to the current time instead of the time when you started the draft. Viola! As far as alphabetical postings according to the title -- your guess is as good as mine. Maybe check your blog settings. Now, does anyone know how to do the thing where only part of your post shows and includes a link to the entire post. My entries (for those who haven't noticed) are a little verbose. Not really my intention, but it happens. So, to save readers from all that scrolling, I'd like to find out how to do the links. Help! (and have a great day!)

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Next Tuesday

    I'll post the schedule for the next unit a little later; for now, I'm giving a heads up on the reading for Tuesday. We'll be discussing the confluence between (and divergences among) blogging and journalism--please read and contribute to the class blog!

    Tues., Feb. 21: Is blogging journalism?

    Please read these before class:

    • J. D. Lasica, “Blogging as a Form of Journalism”

    • Stacy D. Kramer, “Journos and Bloggers: Can Both Survive?”

    • Robert Niles, “The Importance of Blogging in Journalism Education”

    • Don Gillmor, Introduction to We the Media

    Technology presentation: Justin Light

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    I'm starting to get the hang of the blog. Actually, I'm even starting to like it. When the class first began, I had my reservations. It seemed like we were expected to know a lot about the technology very quickly, which I think we still are but as with everything, it gets easier and more comprehensible as you go along and began to utilize the skills you're learning. I think this is a very good class and I hope they keep it around. Its nice to know that colleges in general are making an effort to keep students up with mainstream technology and society. I appreciate that. I know that I will get a job or internship in the future and be able to say, "Not only do I know what a blog is and how it works, but I have one!" I had an inernship last semester that hosted a blog of which we were suppose to write for. I had no idea what a blog was or how it was suppose to work, or what contents were expected to be included. I left that internship with about the same amount of blog cloudiness I had when I first arrived there. Now, I am relieved to say that I can blog. Now I just have to get in the habit of remembering that everyday.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    A question for 4040

    So hey, I'm going to try to get some feedback on a particular question I have:

    Is it better or worse to publish posts that I started last week? I mean, it shows up on the page, of course, but does anyone ever scroll down there and look for them? Should I just start adding recently finished posts at the top from now on?

    Being new to blogging, I don't know if people surf the way I do. I usually go all over a page looking for comments and reading things, so I'm more likely to see new posts from a few days ago. Or do you tend to skim the newest story and move on?

    I just want to make it easy for people to comment on my blog (post-december), so advice is appreciated!

    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    Please read and respond

    Hey, I wrote this last spring and wondered if people could respond to it. I know this is a lame way to post, but I've wanted people to read this for a long time. The only people who have read it are people that think what I write is great anyway, no matter what it says. So here it is. Can you please give me your first responses? Thanks

    March 2005

    To the Way that I see it

    This evening probably has to go down as one of the best nights of my hopefully long life. See, UNC won their first final four game in their last five tries and I got to attend an amazing concert with my lovely girlfriend.
    Now, UNC winning and making the national championship game is a very big deal, but that’s not the issue that I’d like to discuss tonight. (Actually, very early this morning)
    No, this issue at hand is something that inspired me to write this memorandum in the first place. This letter won’t be dedicated to the performers who put on a great show, or the crowd who was so energetic throughout the almost four hour concert, but to one little girl who owned this night in my eyes.
    For once this was not my own girlfriend, but a handicapped girl that sat just a few rows behind my friends and I. Probably only visible to the one friend that she looked as if she had brought to the concert. The amazing thing about this situation is that this girl continued to infatuate me this evening. She wasn’t popular, or pretty, or maybe even smart, but in my eyes this night belonged to her because she took center-stage in her own world while everyone else was living in someone else’s. This girl knew all the words like many of the other fans there. And she was more than happy enough to share those entertainer’s words with everyone within earshot. But what stood out to me was the way that she paid no attention to the people that didn’t concern her. The people who have naturally come down upon her and told her that she wasn’t good enough.
    For one night this girl stepped out and showed that she had her own life and not one in which she lives to please other people. And I think the lesson here is that people will always have opinions. One can’t change that. But the people who make the most of their lives are those who can live their lives without consent, regret, and repentance for those who must “fit in”. For it is truly the mark of a great person that doesn’t acknowledge that others are standing in the way of their greatness. And as a performer was standing on stage hundreds of feet away it took the singing of one little girl to show me that what’s important isn’t what the whole crowd is staring at, but the smallest little details that make up my life and the wonderful moments that they encapsule.
    For one night I paid to see someone entertain me, and the one person that did wasn’t within 200 feet of the stage.
    One little girl who had probably been neglected by society if not by her own family took the stage for a performance tonight that amazed at least one person. And she didn’t care who saw it.
    The smallest details are our lives, and the attention to detail is what makes us who we are.


    Friday, February 10, 2006

    Better late than never

    I was supposed to post last week about three exemplary blogs. Well.. a week later, I am getting around to that task.

    Apartment Therapy
    This is a blog devoted to "Helping people to make their apartments better places to live." I introduced my roommate to this blog about a year ago, and we have both been avid readers since. It is basically a blog aimed at good home design. I am a stickler for good design, which is the main reason why this post is so late. I spent most of my weekend trying to learn a few basics of CSS. Bad design makes me cringe.

    Maud Newton
    As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to be pretty engulfed in literary blogs. Maud Newton's blog is one I frequented. Her posts sometimes rely on the reader being as informed as she is on all things literary, so I sometimes get lost. However... ocassionally I do comprehend what she is talking about, so I continue to read. If you ever need a few hundred hours of entertainment, check out her huge links page.

    The Elegant Variation
    This is a blog I stumbled onto recently. I scoured his archives, to see if I missed anything incredibly interesting. And I did! He posted in a topic I posted on (along with the rest of literary community I am sure) which was the supposed retirement of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I liked that he had linked an article I had not seen yet. It is nice to get others perspective on an issue.

    This is cross-posted at -In the Margins-.

    I got the powa!

    There is an article on the BBC website that discusses the importance and influence of bloggers. The author discusses the power of the blogosphere in bringing information to light and initiating change. He specifically mentions bloggers' roles in the current cartoon controversy and in pointing out errors made in response to hurricane Katrina. He says that many news organizations have not yet established a policy on blogging. I don't really find this surprising. MSNBC is the only news site I regularly check that has a specific link to "blogs." Even on BBC I had to do a search for "blog" or "blogging" to find stories. As the author of the article warns, it is imperative for news organizations to etablish a policy on blogs, both responses to blog criticism and the blogging done by organization employees. He says:

    If the MSM does not respond, it will suffer. The same is even truer of businesses, whose products can be disastrously damaged by web-based attacks.

    If the criticism is fair it must be answered, directly to those making it. Remote, computer-generated responses are counter-productive.

    And mistakes must be quickly corrected. If the criticism is unfair, then the MSM has to know about it early on and develop defensive tactics.

    Blogs allow people to organize like never before. With relatively little effort, in your pjs, from the comfort of your bed (and the aid of your wireless laptop) you can dispense information to the world. I checked ( at 10:21 on February 10, 2006) and that is 6,496,873,670 people. Granted, estimates state that only 1,018,057,389 people use the internet. But, that's still more people than you could organize with, say, a PTA phone tree. That is also much larger than the number of employees at any news bureau (or even the sum of all news bureaus), which means a lot more minds and hours spent finding information than is spent by any newspaper or tv news program. Instead of relying on our papers and TV for information that we don't have time or can't find on our own (and if you read a paper or watch TV you know it's really a limited pool of info) there are over one million people all over the world, combining their divergent interests and spare time to bring light to a limitless number of issues and ideas. It is a force to be reckoned with. We are a force to be reckoned with. Kinda makes you want to sing Snap!'s "The Power" . . . I got the powa! . . .

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Sampling the Blogosphere...

    This week in my blogging class, our assigment was to identify and post about three exemplary blog entries from the various blogs we read. That means that all this week I have been scrolling through the various links my classmates have thrown up as their favorites. When I posted my entry, I thought that it was going to be different than everyone else's because we mainly talk about political blogs or watchdog blogs in class. I, on the other hand, really prefer the more personal (but not necessarily journal blogs) and decided to pull my favorite entries from there.

    Turns out that a lot of the other people in my class have also found blogs that speak to them contextually or tonally and not necessarily blogs that are out to make a huge social impact. Among the choices of my classmates were celebrity gossip blogs, random people's funny chronicle of their lives, blogs of people they know, a few political or issue blogs, and even a Gumby blog.

    It seems the rest of the class has come to the same conclusion that I have. While it may be interesting to scan through random people's blogs when a hot issue arises (see the most recent example of the muslim cartoons) just to get a feel for how other people think, frequent readability is determined by a much more personal reaction to a person's style. I'm fully aware that the blogs I find interesting probably won't appeal to anyone else in this room. After all, after scanning through everyone else's choices I can't say any one blog made a particular impression on me (at least not enough to grace it with an almighty bookmark), but, Hey, to each their own.

    Seems to me the choice of what blogs to read is kind of like choosing what people to talk to at a party. You seek out the people who seem like they're most like you, or the people with the common interests and make a connection.

    Megan @ Chronicle of a Book Retold [crossposted]

    Some good reading

    I like this blog. Simply put, it's called THE NEWS BLOG. It has some good stuff, the mainstream news stories and also some small stories a lot of the big guys overlook. The writer(s) has a good style, very straightforward and sounds professional. It also has the face and personality that the huge news broadcasts lack. For an interesting take on breaking news, this blog is where it's at.

    Another thing I've always been interested in is animation. NOT ANIME, I freaking hate anime. But real animation, for its wit, its simplicity, and its overall message of animation: the best thing about animation is that it engages our imagination, something which we allow to get lazy as we get older. But animation brings it back to us. And animation is limitless. No need for technological special effects, or stunt doubles, or million dollar sets. One is only restricted to the reaches of their creativity. Check out Cartoon Brew for the classics and the best fresh animation coming out. Oh by the way, Check out Bill Plympton's work. He's an animating genious, way better than the more celebrated Don Hertzfeldt. I'd like to write more on Plympton's work, but it might not be entirely appropriate for the class blog. See my blog for some incite on Plymptoons coming soon.

    it's raining blogs (hallelujah)

    It's pretty, it's informative, it's about music. That pretty much sums up why I like it.

    Soviet Panda
    Anything named Soviet Panda has to be good. Mostly about rock music, but lately this blog has been exploring different types of music in addition to the rock content.

    I actually hate the girl with a passion who writes this blog...I read it just to make fun of her. She's a DJ with terrible taste in music....she has a book out now, which proves just about any fool can be published these days.

    three blog entries

    Irregardless is a word

    Trent's is one of my favorite blogs to read. It gives me a good fix of celbrity gossip, but I also like the amount of personality he puts into it. This post is a good example of it. I've never met Trent, but I've gotten to know him through his postings. I bet we'd be good friends.


    This one comes from one of my friend's blogs. I know there isn't much original writing in it, but that's why I like it. His audience is most likely his friends, family and people that know him and thus know his views on social and political issues. By just picking out quotes, he was able to convey his feelings, but still allow his readers to come to their own conclusions.

    Anybody else have an ethics issue with this?

    This post comes from Fred Vultee's copyediting blog. (Vultee is the j-school's resident copyediting guru.) I like it because it really creates a forum for conversation. The title itself opens it up for question. By placing the article first also allows readers to come to their own conclusions before reading Fred's. That is less intrusive and more welcoming for comments.

    Next Week

    Today we wrap up the first unit of the class (Getting Started). When we were going over the way you'll be graded for this class, we agreed that I would give you feedback at the end of each unit. Because you just started blogging full-time last week, I thought it would be useful to give this feedback in person.

    To that end, I would like to change our class format for next week: we'll meet, as usual, at 3:00, and we'll hear from the person in charge of presenting on each day. We'll also have time for general questions, etc. Then, at about 3:20, half the class will be dismissed. I'll meet individually with each person remaining for about 5-10 minutes: we'll go over your blog, your goals for the blog and the class, and we'll talk about where your current level of blogging is placing you on the grading scale.

    Will that work for everyone? Let me know--here or over email--if you have any questions about this plan and/or if you have any specific questions you want to make sure we address when we talk.

    Like many others, I have had difficulties finding a blog that I like enough to keep up with. I think this is probably because there are just so many blogs out there. But there are a few I have found to be somewhat interesting.

    La Shawn Barber's Corner is a blog that I found really interesting. She blogs about her faith and politics, she is also a freelance writer(which is of interest to me as a English writing minor and print journalism major). This is a woman who does not prescibe to either the Democratic or Republican party,so I think that reading about her views on certain issues is interesting.
    In my Online Journalism class, we have been looking at blogs so I have been exposed to some local Columbia blogs. One that I liked is Haphazardous, a mom who takes pics in/around Columbia. It's just a different view of our town, and some of her pics are pretty good.
    Mostly, I like to read blogs for enjoyment...not to read someone's rant about politics or current events. Most of the time, I would rather read the paper and create my own opinion. I am fashion
    is really visual and fun for anyone who likes to read mags like Vogue or Harper's Bazaar...
    A guilty pleasure would definitely have to beA Socialite's Life. It is basically just a socialite dishing about random Hollywood gossip and making fun of celebs...not very intellectually stimulating but great for when you sort of feel like shutting your brain off for a while!
    A truly funny and relatable blog I found is Waiter Rant. If you've ever been a hostess or server, you will completely relate to these entries. Most of the entries are humorous, but some really hit home to larger issues. Look at Heaven and Hell. This is some good blogging that gets tons of responses.

    Three awesome blogs

    The first blog I found which was really sweet is this one, because some guy goes off on the history of hard rock in three parts. It kind of took me back to the old days of high school and my die hard metal enthusiasm (I still think the shirts are awesome). The guy goes into detail about the careers of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. I think it is essential that the young 'uns be made wise to the best of early '80s metal, so I respect the man's mission.

    Here's another cool blog.
    It is comedy-oriented, which I think is a creative and fun way of making use of blog theory. I found a link from this site to "30 second Pulp Fiction with Blood Bunnies," a thirty-second adaptation of Pulp Fiction with little cartoon bunny rabbits shooting each other and overdosing on heroin. Pulp Fiction is my all-time favorite movie, so I could not help being affected by this poignant bit of cinema.

    The third and final attention-getting blog I observed is from I have to admit that the only reason I stumbled onto this article is by searching Blogger for "Gumby," hoping that some fan somewhere might possibly have a whole blog dedicated entirely to Gumby. So far, my research has proven this not to be the case. But I will not give up. Anyway, the article I liked in this blog is called "Hellooooooooo Rheingold" and it's about a guy from Brooklyn writing a letter of protest to some local beer baron who wants to build a Brooklyn arena and move the New Jersey Nets to the former home of the Dodgers. I think it was mostly the subject matter of this article that struck me as amusing; the blogger's voice is very dry and humorous, though. I liked the piece.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    Some good blogs

    As I am relatively new to this blogging thing I have to admit there are not too many blogs I read on a regular basis. That has been slowly changing over the past few weeks since I have been in this class. One of the blogs I have kept up with for some time is the blog of my friend Jonthon. Obviously this is probably of more interest to me than it would be to any of you because I know him personally, but I actually think an outside reader who stumbled there accidently might enjoy what he has to say. It is a good mix of news and humor, and often he posts things specific to our campus that I find useful and informative. I also admire the way he says what he thinks, I don't think I could be that honest or forward about a lot of my opinions (although they aren't ALL commentary) Here is just one example. On that page he also links to a few other sites that he operates, Politichaos and Blogs are the Light, a site that has some posts about blogging, like a link to a post about the revolution of the web. Two more links I think are worth checking out are Toothpaste for Dinner and You Ain't No Picasso. The first features stuff on music, writing, etc...maybe it's not a blog, but the drawings they feature are just hilarious, so I had to include it. Anyone remember the keytar? (Don't ask me why I chose that one as an example...I'm sick and sort of delirious, give me a break. It made me laugh...). The latter is a music site about new bands, albums, songs, etc. and usually has a lot of stuff before other media outlets get wind of it.
    I've been trying to incorporate reading more blogs into my daily life. I have enjoyed some of the links you guys have posted. I'm even reading all my Apple RSS news feeds daily (instead of waiting until I have 257 new articles)...that's a start!

    What I think about good blogging

    Blogs can do so many things that it is hard to say what good blogging is and what it does. At least it's hard for me. I don't know if blogging for the purpose of journalistic reporting is something that should be done, or if on the other end of the spectrum someone should only keep a blog for the purpose of using it as on online journal. I think that the definition of good blogging, like most things on the web is a fluid definition that goes through sways of public opinion.

    Having said that, I would like to offer what is in my head about good blogging. Blogging that is worth reading to me has to do a few things. 1. it has to be revelant to something I like or have and urge to read about (simple enough, but no one ever offers this as something they like, and I think it needs to be said) 2. It has to be coherent. I hate it when I have to read something three or four times because I can't get the meaning in one close read. 3. It has to pose some sort of question. I like to read something that makes me think about an issue or at least spurs some neurons of mine to fire and get some activity going. I'm not saying it should offer some cure to cancer, but at least stimulate some good discussion. Something can be thought-provoking without being philosophical. It can be spurring by presenting an argument on a touchy subject, or looking at the same thing through a new perspective. And finally, I think (against the thoughts of our professor) that a blog should talk about every topic under the sun. I know people have emphasis on their blog, but no one thinks about only a handful of things during a week, month, hour. So why should our personal thoughts and perspectives be limited to only a few topics. Personally, I tend to think about writers the same way. I have more respect for a writer that expands upon his writing and covers many different topics to a writer that writes in only one or two literary genres.

    So there it is...let the debate begin.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    interesting blog posts

    This first one is about Dan Brown's
  • Da Vinci Code

  • and seems to have lots of thought on the topic.

    And this blog is taking the villians from the Da Vinci Code and telling their story for the world to hear. And they say that Dan Brown is the villian for portraying
  • Opus Dei
  • Linked!

    Did you know this very class has been blogged? Check out these links:

    "Blogging in Theory and Practice"
    (from weblogg-ed)

    FYI: A whole course on blogging (from a course on Writing for the Web at Eastern Michigan U)

    There's more: go to technorati and search for "Blogging in Theory and Practice." Some people even comment on specific posts--we're in the network!

    Posts I Like

    Here's the problem: I love short posts because I am usually skimming things in about 30 seconds.

    Nonetheless, I love Bora Zivkovic's entire blog, aptly named Science and Politics. If you go look through his posts, you'll find it's a current alphabetical list of research blogs and articles.

    Ok, don't all roll your eyes at once. I don't actually think about science all the time. But when it's time to find new and old links to continuing research stories, I think this is the best tool I've ever seen. It's so hard to trace a research project from the beginning through different research journals. Not every article gets in to the good journals, so researchers have to vary their submissions. It can be a real pain to search and search for a single topic through the years.

    This site is maintained by a single guy, though, and I don't know if he lists sites based on his own biases. But just look at him. He's so nerdy and cute! He couldn't possibly be pitching his angle. So, much love to Bora.


    (Image from, back by popular demand)

    Believe it or not, someone really did find out how to bake the best pie crust in history. I made a killer strawberry-rhubarb pie last August, and kind of accidentally found this site while searching the web for help. I used this recipe, and to date, my friends remember that pie. I think that the diagrams and the links in this post are so helpful to explain any missing details.

    SteveJames (not Rick James)
    I realize that I'm not really doing too great a job with linking the exact posts I like. However, the highest concentration of posts I like to read is found at SteveJames' blog Round the World in 2005: A Year in the Life. It's a journal of his travels from January 31, 2005 to January 15, 2006 literally around the world, except for the Middle East and Midwest, which he avoided for some reason. The posts themselves are not always well-written, probably because he's been writing them really fast from Internet cafes. But you can actually hear his British accent as on the Christmas Day post, when he refers to holidays celebrated in England.

    What's really funny is that you can contribute to his travel fund right there on his blog. I highly recommend looking at some of his photo album, too, if you have time. Also if you've never looked at, it's really fun. I wish I could travel a lot more, but I don't have the means at the moment, so I live vicariously through the bloggers who do roam the world.

    A few good blogs

    As I've mentioned before, I tend to read the blogs of people in my field or in similar fields. The content of the blogs, then, may not have as wide appeal as some, but I think I can generalize about what makes them good blogs, all the same.

    So here are a few blogs I enjoy, with links to exemplary posts. I'd like to take a look at these in class and talk more about what seems "exemplary" to me (and you!).

    Collin vs. Blog:
    "If only they would feed me"

    Earth Wide Moth
    "Forming with little hands"

    Culture Cat
    "Noted and recommended"
    "Digital scholarly publishing: beyond the crisis"

    E-mail, the E is for Expensive.

    Ready to pay for e-mail? Well, get ready, because AOL and Yahoo are starting a US Postal Service-esque system, and soon will start charging companies to send e-mail. They're founding a system of putting stamps on e-mail "to get e-mail where it ought to go". The rationale is that businesses will then accept only certified e-mail, which will cut down on the amount of spam flooding mailboxes everywhere.

    The major e-mail account providers may also consider expanding the practice to private surfers, if this corporate test-run works well. For now, the charge is just a quarter of a penny to one whole penny per e-mail. I know, break the piggy bank, eh? But as we've seen with our own snail mail stamp prices (now up to 39 cents), that figure may start the same uphill trend.

    Should this sending charge be expanded to all AOL and Yahoo accounts, I'm betting the public probably won't want to deal with a complicated system of paying e-postage, which may expose credit card numbers to hackers or malfunction. Personally, I love e-mail because it's free and fast. Who wants to start PayPal'ing to send a quick note to Aunt Marge? Mm not me, thanks. But if we can't pay that bank-blistering quarter of a penny, do we have to live without e-mail?

    David Sheets of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers another option: blogs. He proposes that 2006 might be the year that we start to see the death of e-mail, and an increasing use of blogs as direct communication:

    "Think of it: Blogs are mostly personal correspondence, anyway. Imagine subdividing a blog into different pages, with each page devoted to correspondence for one person or a specific group. The blog writer then creates a subscription feed for each page and offers the feed to only preferred readers.

    This way, subscribers know there’s a new 'blog-mail' when the feed stream updates. So maybe, instead of e-mail, we’ll have 'e-feeds' or 'feedmail' occupying our time.

    Of course, spammers will find a way to make paid e-mail work for them, too. By then, perhaps we’ll be too busy with our blog-mail to notice."

    I find the idea that blogs on the Web, the most public outlet, could in time substitute for password-protected e-mails humorous. But charging postage for e-mail will probably cause problems down the road, and blogs seem like the best alternative.

    [cross-posted on]

    Inspiring Illustrations of Individual Ideas

    When I first started reading blogs it was just the blogs of people I know, so I totally understand how hard it is to find good, personal blogs of people you've never met. But once you get the hang of it, you'll find that you have too many blogs to get through everyday. Picking three entries that I particulary like was not an easy task, so keep in mind that I have about 8 billion posts that I've filed away in the back of my brain, even some that have truly influenced how I look at the world.

    I personally get bored reading blogs that comment on the news or raise controversial issues. It's not that I'm not interested in the issues, it's just that I usually have a pretty well-defined idea of how I feel. The posts that have really spoken to me are usually of a personal nature, ones that get to the heart of what it means to be alive, and in particular what it means to be a creative observer of this great big world. Maybe you'll be interested, maybe you won't, but here goes...

    Christina Rosalie @ My Topography

    This is a blog that I just found recently through some links on other blogs I've been reading for a long time. I was immediately hooked because this blog seems to be the supreme example of the type of blog I like to read. This post is from very early this morning and it seems to summarize exactly what the site is about. In this particular post, Christina follows seemingly unrelated events over the span of a few days and processes them to draw a conclusion about herself, "She is an artist." I think this post exemplifies the personal potential of a blog. Things happen to us all the time, but we don't always stop to think about the course of our lives. Blogging, putting it out there for others to read, forces us to examine the things that happen to us, or the things we choose to do and suddenly we see an aspect of ourselves that maybe we didn't recognize before. I have often found that when I blog, I'll start with an idea and then end up somewhere completely surprising. It's a good way to internalize the chaos and come out refreashed.

    Andrea Jenkins @ Hula Seventy

    This is a site that I have been reading for a long time now, in particular because I like Andrea's approach to the messiness of her life. Sometimes you do just have to take a step back and complain, or laugh, or try desperately to find the positive. Sometimes it's so easy to overlook those little moments every day that remind you to keep on doing what you're doing. Andrea has perfected the ability to find the silver lining and I read her blog because it reminds me to do that myself.

    In this particular post she has answered the call of the meme "4 Things." For those of you who don't know, a meme is kind of like a blogging chain letter (it's also referred to as tagging). They start on inderterminate blogs and get passed around until they start looping back on themselves. Basically everyone who ends up in the chain makes a post (usually in list format) relating to a particular topic, or aspect of themselves. This one is pretty self explanatory, you just have to make a bunch of little lists about your 4 favorite whatevers. At the end of the post, Andrea has essentially tagged everyone who may read her site, so consider this your invitation to meme on your own blog.

    Carla @ Anonyrrie

    So, if you haven't guessed by now, I'm way into Illustration Blogs, and this one is probably my favorite. I particularly like Carla's illustrations because she always posts a longer thought about her subject. In this post she has annotated her beautiful illustration with an ee Cummings poem. As you can see at the top of the post, this is a submission for Illustration Friday, which is an amazing community site with a revolving topic. Every Friday a new topic is posted and from then until the next Friday artists from everywhere post their illustrations interpreting this topic. It's gotten quite popular lately with almost 700 submissions on any given week, but it's still a great way to make connections, particularly if you are interested in art and drawing.

    Anyway, back to this exemplary post. I look forward to Carla's submissions because she always presents a unique perspective on the week's topic and can always be counted on for a positive outlook. I think her combination of art and literature has inspired me to look for creative inspiration in the books I read and literary inspiration in the art I see.

    Megan @ Chronicle of a Book Retold

    Tastes in Blogging

    As discovery mentioned, I too have had trouble locating blogs that I found particularly exemplary. I found entries I enjoyed, but feared that they weren't notable in terms of style or content, just funny or interesting. None-the-less, here is what I have found so far:

    Jane Galt is the author of the blog Assymetrical Information. A few of her most recent posts have been on the topic of abortion. What I liked with this blog was not what she had to say. I disagree on almost every level with her. However, I appreciated her argument style. Her entries seem clever and tactful. One particular entry is entitled Specificity matters, or why abortion is different from birth control. Again, I don't agree with her argument, but I appreciate that she frames it in a new context and that she makes her argument intelligently and with a level of class (for lack of a better word) that allows those who don't agree to intelligently do so., and many do. It goes back to the article we read in class (I can't seem to find that post now) about The Washington Post taking down it's blog site temporarily. I think as bloggers we need to aim to frame our blog postings and our comments on others' blogs in a way that enhances the marketplace of ideas and does not sink to mindless bickering.

    The Anchoress is another blog in which I found something to admire. Again, I don't think the blog topic or the particular views of the blogger mesh with my own perspectives. But, I think this is better in the sense that it shows that you don't have to agree with a blogger to appreciate their style. Her recent posting “Will and Grace”, Muslim cartoons and free speech I appreciated because of the sheer number of links she provided to sources of information. I thought it was good that she did not only provide her opinion, but provided the readers of her blog numerous links to associated information. On the other hand, however, I did not appreciate the length of her blog entries. That's a highly subjective (and arguably superficial) criticism to make, but I think there is much to be said for bloggers who can make an astute point succinctly. The length of this posting in particular exhausted me and I found myself struggling to follow her argument, which greatly reduced its effectiveness.

    That brings me to blogger JeffAlworth who writes Low on the Hog. His entries are short. They are something I can swallow and internalize. I don't have to allocate hours of time to a single post. I can read his point and move on to something else or perhaps to others' perspectives on the topic. I felt his article Betting on American Ignorance is one good example of this. He makes a point, he offers links and supporting information and he does it all in 307 words. And, his point is all the more effective because I was able to follow him from beginning to end.

    But, really, here is my favorite: McSweeney's. I was afraid Donna might not agree with my classification of this as a blog. But, it is in reverse chronological order, daily postings, a literary focus, archives. To me, it looks like a blog. I like McSweeney's because it is purely creative and artistic. It has no politics, no real controversy, no confusing technical jargon, just humor. Its witty and it makes me laugh. I appreciate the intelligence and its ceaseless ability to make me giggle uncontrollably. If you haven't visited, stop reading my post and go now. Here are a few posts I liked to get you started (in no particular order):
    Health Watch:Four Silent Killers.
    Seven People Who are Screwing Up Marshville, Massachussetts (Pop. 2,384), And Frank Anderson is No. 3.
    My Family'sPower Rankings.
    An Open Letter to the Manufaturers of Infant Sleepwear.
    An Open Letter to Officials of the United States Government Regarding What's New in My Reproductive Area.
    Although I Like a Good George Bush Joke As Much As the Next Guy, Some of Them Seem Gratuitous and Mean-Spirited.
    The Earlier Epic Battles of Grendel's Mother.
    If Bush's SpeechHad Rocked as Hard asHis Inauguration.

    blog favorites???

    I'm having trouble locating blogs, and therefore blog entries that I really like. A lot of blogs make for interesting, often controversial reads, but there is a distinct difference between interesting and likable. I have discovered however that blogs are a good way to get good movie reviews. But then again that is dependent on finding a blogger whom you like and who's opinion you trust and find compatible to yours. so, if it safe to say that I'm still working on finding that one blogger that I will love to share opinions and reasonings with on a regular basis.
    I did find a blog titled, Just Well Mixed that I instantly took a liking to. It begins really intellectual and goes on in a sophisticated fashion, void of harsh overtones and opinions, although I do understand that part of the blogs definition lies in the slighted opinion of its author but I appreciated the balanced viewpoint originally offered in "Just Well Mixed." I say originally because as it went on, I saw some elements of not necessarily biased but inconsiderate viewponts surrounding the controversy of the deaths of those recently killed while in protests of the cartoon in Afghanistan. I also want to make note that this blogger identified himself by first and last name. I actually have yet to read a blog (actually there was one) that doesn't attempt to approach controversial issues. I'm not sure if I should consider that a good or bad thing. The weblog was created as a means for every-day people to be able to express their opinion at will but I'm still skeptical due to the fact that the ability to remain anonymous and unthreatening to myself or future employers is now in question.

    Saturday, February 04, 2006

    decision-making rant


    I would like to make my pitch for embracing the indecision in all of us.

    Tonight, I would not like to decide when to go to bed, or which homework assignment will be taking my free saturday night away from me. But instead I will let the natural course of action take over. That action may be sleeping at 9 p.m. or staying up until the sun rises. It may involve travel or not moving a muscle until someone else forces me to.

    I don't want to decide whether I'm Democrat or Republican, smart or ignorant, or whether I'm active or lazy. I would like to embrace my completeness by not verifying what I am and what I'm not. So here's my point. I'm made up of thoughts, theories, and experiences, and I'm sure you are as well. So let's not bind ourselves by placing us in some specific category in life.

    So embrace your indecisiveness and live by the seat of your pants. It's really not a bad way to live.


    Friday, February 03, 2006

    Mining For Ideas...

    I am an occasional reader of Slate magazine (an online editorial site) and one thing I've noticed about them is that they have really started to focus on the culture of the internet. It should come as no surprise to me then, that I stumbled across a section of their magazine entitled "Today's Blogs." Apparently in this section they are keeping tabs on what bloggers are talking about on any given day.

    On today's list, for example, they say that bloggers are "alarmed by Muslim anger over the publication of caricatures of Mohammed. They are also saddened that drug smugglers now are using puppies as mules." A couple of days ago, not surprisingly, the blog topic was the State of the Union address.

    I think it's interesting that Slate has instituted this recurring section because it suggests that blogs are prevalent enough to pay attention to (something we are coming to grips with) and that bloggers tend to latch onto similar ideas on any given day. The other interesting facet is that the majority of these topics are stemming from our news media. The Muslim anger they mention is over some "cartoon drawings of the Prophet Mohammed in newspapers around Europe" and apparently the Muslims are turning to their blogs to vent. It's interesting that we can now instantly gauge people's reactions to the news and to events by simply searching for blogs. A topic's relative popularity, the vehemence it inspires, or the debates taking place can more accurately indicate how people feel about political decisions, corporate scandals, or the latest celebrity haircut. Should we be polling blogs to find out how people really feel?

    I've been a little leary of assuming that blogs have taken on prominence in our culture. Just because a large section of the population has one or reads them doesn't mean we really have something to say. And in truth, communicative power is still concentrated in the hands of a few. There are a couple hundred really popular blogs that have gained enough noteriety to be mentioned as valid sources. There are still more newspapers or television journalists to tell us what to think. But I think this Slate piece points out something that I had not noticed before, that blogs as a medium has vast potential. If you don't like something, blog about it, because chances are, if enough people get on and rant, someone will notice and report it in the traditional media where it cannot be ignored.

    If we truly live in a democracy then maybe blogs are the best way we can exercise our individual voice. If the government is going to insist upon scanning our internet histories and search records, perhaps we should add our opinions, whatever they may be, to the national record through our blogs.


    Thursday, February 02, 2006

    Presentation Schedule

    Tuesday Technology Presentations: How to enhance your blog
    [schedule deleted]

    Thursday Discussion Presentations: Blogs in the news

    [schedule deleted]

    Why "transparency"?

    Let's try something a little different, even though it may overload blogger. I'm going to pose a question for discussion, and I would like each of you to add a comment. But as you comment, please take into account not only the original question but each of the previous comments, as well.

    Today's readings addressed the issue of anonymity, with one suggesting that keeping your blog anonymous is a good way to avoid getting in trouble, and another arguing that anonymity violates blogging standards of transparency. He recommends simply using common sense to avoid posting anything that might get you into trouble.

    Would you or are you blogging anonymously? Why? Why not? Here's one person's defense. What's yours? (For doing it or not.)

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Blog Censorship in China

    I just read a New York Times article addressing the issue of blog censorship in China. Apparently Microsoft is being asked by the Chinese Government to shut down some blogs with content deemed inappropriate by their censorship standards.

    This definitely goes along with our Tuesday discussion about what legal rights are allotted to bloggers. However, it brings up an interesting point that we did not discuss, because it probably does not effect any of us.

    But Julien Pain, head of the Internet desk at Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based press freedom group that has been monitoring Internet censorship and the imprisonment of bloggers in China called the development an "illusory victory."

    "There's a good side and a bad side," Mr. Pain said. "It's clear that they've begun thinking about their ethical responsibility. But it also shows that they accept censorship, and that they believe in this new form of the Internet, in which the rights of users will vary according to their geographic origin."

    This, he said, "is in direct contradiction with the original idea of what the Internet was supposed to be — something with no barriers, no boundaries."

    It is really a complex issue, and I just wanted to see what everyone else thought about it. It is interesting because the internet is truly a global phenomenon, but freedom of expression is not.

    my thoughts on blogging ethics

    To be honest, until class today, I never really considered the ethics behind the weblog. After reading the "ethical rules of blogging" in Rebecca Blood's "Weblog Ethics," I have to say that for the most part I disagree with many of the arguments that she makes for the ethics of the weblog. Although my experience with blogging is limited (and that me be why I take the idea of ethics in blogging more lightly), I ultimately view the concept of the weblog as personal diaries and statements. The blog, at least in my opinion, is for the most part, personal opinion. There are many links to true news stories and politics present around the globe, but many of those links are posted in relation to what the author of the blog has to say. I do not consider the weblog journalism in the sense in which we know it. It is not professional, and therefore should not be held to the same standards of a newspaper article as Ms. Blood lets on. However I do consider the weblog a form of literatue, of reportage, opne might say. It sometimes contains true elements relevant to the world's news but is filled with the personal opinion and emotion of its author. While it may be a form of good literature and a testimony to our society's technology and social intelligence, it can not be considered a form of journalistic truth, at least not at this point in time. Ms. Blood also lets on that the blog must follow journalistic rules of ethics in order to eventually be considered true and expert journalism. But again I have to disagree. That would again dispute the purpose of the blog. Bloggers are not professionals and cannot now or ever be held to the same standards and codes of the professional. That would be unethical. In order for the weblog to be considered absolute journalism, protected and limited to the same regulations as the journalistic media is today, only those who have training in journalism would be able to author blogs. How can a blogger be held to laws and rules in which are not his expertise. If the blog became absolute journalism, it would lose it's charm of everyday people, giving honest assessments and opinions of their views on societial happenings. The blog would be nothing more than online editorial, an extension of the online news websites that are already in existence.