Sunday, November 29, 2009

Citizen Journalism at its best....

Blogs present a unique venue for circulating information, news, and opinions. Those who contribute to them are sometimes called “Citizen Journalists.” Renowned blogger Yoani Sanchez states that “Citizen Journalists are individuals, without any particular professional training, who live in the epicenter of events.”

To further this idea, Rettberg in his book Blogging lays out three ways as to how blogging can be comparable to traditional forms of journalism. Firstly, it provides a first hand perspective on the events being reported on. This point is often times espoused as a crucial advantage to blogging. By providing first hand information, the blog/blogger has an edge over processed information and news. Additionally, the inherent bias is often times transparent, something that does not elude consumers. Secondly, the quality and frequency of blogs can often times exceed that of traditional news sources. Not to mention, this often comes with additional advantages such as the case with filter blogs and those with an interactive advantage.

Yoani Sanchez’s blog Generacion Y is what Rettberg describes as “The more moving and influential blogs… usually those where the blogger is a participant in the ongoing events” Yoani Sanchez provides a candid first hand experience of the political and social on goings in present day Cuba. Her blog has become heavily read and influential. Recently she posed seven questions to Barrack Obama concerning US involvement in Cuban affairs, domestic policy and diplomatic talks. Her ability to open dialog with the president and make the information available to masses is a perfect example of citizen journalism. A large majority of traditional newspapers, shows, and publications would not be able to say the same.

However, for all those advantages there must come disadvantages (see in class presentation on White Privilege). Blogs may not always offer legitimate and authentic information. Because of a lack of checks and balances coupled with a possible anonymity, blogs may become autonomous sources of questionable material. In a situation such as Yoani Sanchez’s blog Generacion Y, the sensitive political situation might not enable her to be as open as she would like. Additionally, there are limitations as to how valid and reliable one person’s depiction is when speaking about a whole nation. Albeit, the advantages in this case heavily overrule the limitations. Blogs who have amassed followings now have a substantial voice in the media. Blogging has entered the acceptable range of journalism, news, and information sharing. Blogging is here to stay!

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