Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bloggers vs. Traditional Journalists

A blog could be described as a personal diary that one can use to post their ideas and receive feedback on. For my fourth essay, we were assigned to explore the blogosphere and explain our experiences using a blog of our choice. Aaron Barlow, author of Blogging America, talks about how the blogosphere is a public sphere in which people are open to comment on and criticize anything that they please. Barlow raises many themes of how blogging affects the internet, media, and the people who have access to it. One theme that really caught my eye was the tension between bloggers and traditional journalists, when they are not at all that different. These Journalists take on a more vertical prospective, which means they believe there is a passive audience that they have to provide information to. They do not believe that the audience should be writing about things that they may not necessarily have the proper resources and education to write about. The horizontal perspective, in contrast, believes that blogs and amateur journalism can still be successful even if people who write them are not professional journalists. According to Barlow in Chapter 5, traditional journalists fear the horizontal structure that comes with bloggers because they are able to revise and participate on thesejournals, unlike the past. In the blog that I observed for seven days, the author shows that the new breed of journalists is capable of writing informative and successful blogs. This provides a whole new idea of journalism, where the reader can actively participate (Barlow, 2008).

The blog that I decided to use is entitled debbieschussel.com, and it features blogs that cover mostly politics. After reading her biography, I found out that besides from having her own website (where she is the only author of the blogs), she also blogs twice weekly on a column for PoliticalUSA, and occasionally for the New York Post. She is an attorney, a radio talk show host, and has other successes that have led to her being famous. She is #83 on Top Blogs and a finalist for the 2005 Weblog Awards. With all this being said, I believe her to have a lot of credibility and believe what she says is true, and not fictitious. I also do see how opinionated she is, and how a traditional journalist would think she was just ranting and raving. She also can be bias towards certain groups of people, which may hurt her chances of being credible to some.

It is understood that according to Barlow, traditional journalists see blogs simply as opinions. I completely agree. As stated before, I instantly was able to tell that she was Jewish and very Conservative just from reading two or thereof her blogs. However, I also was able to tell that she was very intelligent, knew what she was talking about, and definitely had done research in order to write what she writes. Although I didn’t always side with her beliefs, she had such strong arguments that actually made me think about where she was coming from and even once almost changing my mind. Also, reading people’s comments helped me to think about it from her point of view. This is something that a journalist would have a lot of trouble doing since they do not get reader participation.

One thing that I was disappointed about was that even though her website is a blog where people are suppose to leave all type of comments, there was not a lot of negative feedback. This plays into the belief that blogs aren’t interesting to everyone except the group of people that share common interests. One of the negative comments that I did see, was someone agreed with the paper and said that Debbie was wrong .Then, someone else commented after about them being a “troll”. I wouldn’t be surprised if the person who did write that to Debbie was in fact a journalist agreeing with the paper, or just someone who was an Obama fan. This is another form of tension that goes on. I also never received any feedback when I posted a comment, on debbieschlussel (gamegrl23).I found it funny that when Debbie was asked why she moved from journalism to blogging, she actually replied that she wanted to do something more creative. This is another tension where bloggers see themselves as creative and intelligent, where traditional journalists just see them as ranting.

Although there is tension between the two groups of people, I believe in the long run it would be better for them to come together and help each other out. There are blogs out there that I find absolutely unintelligent and ignorant, so I can see where journalists are coming from. There are also people who comment and blog irrelevant things which can frustrate anyone. However, there are two sides to every story. As much as these journalists disagree with blogging, it is inevitable to stop it and blogging will only get more and more popular.


Barlow, Aaron. (2008). Blogging America. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

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