Thursday, May 4, 2006

Bashing the Blogs

One of the more disturbing things showing up at Poynter, The New York Times and many other places is the relentless knocking of blogs as unprofessional, unreliable, unworthy of anyone serious about news gathering and reporting.

One of the central problems with these attacks is defining the enemy--which blogs deserve such antipathy?
Jay Rosen's?
Dana Milbank's at The Washington Post?

We are hearing pretty regularly that the blogs can't measure up to the reporting flowing out of the regular press and, to a lesser extent, the networks and cable news shows. There's a great deal of defensiveness of what constitutes reporting and editing.

We can certainly agree that there's a lot of drivel passing for political commentary. Some of it fills the blogs. Some of it fills newspaper columns. Blogs allow for a great outpouring of opinion, much of it unfiltered, unedited. Much of it is worth ignoring. But there is also a great deal of reporting, fact checking, researching, assessing, analysis going on on the better blogs and we ought to stop bashing them. And figure out a way to put local, community bloggers to use at our own newspapers, not to replace or supplant professional reporters but simply to add to the news available to readers.

John Robinson at the Greensboro News & Record certainly has made a big start on using blogs well. We should all pay attention and drop the knee-jerk attacks and, if need be, take control of them as a force for information, instead of pointing fingers and screaming mean things about them.

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