It’s the debate that we’ve all heard before: Can bloggers really be considered journalists? They’re not trained as journalists, so do they really know what they’re doing? Can we trust them? In short, my answer is yes. And Will Bunch’s article just illustrates the potential for bloggers to change the future of journalism.
In his piece, Bunch mentions the importance of passion and engagement in journalism, which are two elements that bloggers harness very well. He points to Talking Points Memo as an example of “a new kind of journalistic enterprise for the 21st century.” Bloggers like those at TPM have a desire to expose corruption and misconduct in the government, which is often avoided by journalists in the mainstream media. This is one of the things I find to be most refreshing about bloggers and independent media in general – the willingness to go where the media giants won’t. Seeing news outlets take stories at face value without questioning those in power seems to go against all that we’re supposed to stand for as journalists.
Blogging not only allows for users to have an independent voice free of corporate agendas, it also provides the opportunity for engagement with one’s audience. When a blogger posts a story they invite users to comment and encourage opportunities to respond to questions that people may have. Bloggers also value contributions that readers or other bloggers may have to their work. Additionally, the practice of including links in blogs makes it so readers can see where bloggers are getting information/what they’re referring to. This kind of transparency is often lacking in the mainstream media and in my opinion can make bloggers seem more credible in some instances. These elements combine to form a collaborative relationship in which the blogger cares about his/her audience and vice versa.
I’d love to see mainstream outlets follow suit in terms of greater transparency and less restraint when it comes to taking a critical look at issues. The passion of bloggers results in good, investigative pieces that we need more of. Since blogging only seems to be increasing in popularity I’m excited to see more and more bloggers become influential in the world of journalism.