Citizen Media – Blogs and Journalism

In my own news blog, I collect and comment on news on a particular subject (so not in the category of citizen media). The topic of this week’s class so got in my head, I almost subconsciously changed my strategy for selecting posting material. I found that in the past week, I had departed from my exclusive focus on professional media stories and indeed posted two stories derived from other blogs:

Do We Count? and Revisiting the Ann Landers Survey

In today’s blog on the site, I depart entirely from my quote-and-comment format and explore why I had made this shift. I discuss this class (indeed, I very rarely mention aspects of my personal life there) and the impact it has has, as well as the topic of this week’s class:

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Answering the Question You Never Asked

In case anyone was wondering why I am posting to other blogs rather than solely to media articles. . . .I am enrolled in a course entitled “Cyber One“, which explores argument and the ‘court of public opinion’ through new technologies. This week my project was on blogs and journalism. We explored how the internet, especially blogs, has changed the nature f journalism in some respects. Personal blogs can gain wide attention without the need for working capitol and a corporate structure present in most professional media outlets. Does this change the nature of journalism? Are personal bloggers somehow less qualified – or indeed more objective than professionals? Are the channels of popularity that allow something to gain attention on the internet a valid replacement for professional training and editing?

It could very well be that the kinds of stories we need to see – about corporate complicity with censorship in China or waterboarding – are the kinds that the main media outlets will not present.

This has made me rethink my strategy on posting only stories published by professional news outlets. Not everything I post has been, strictly speaking, “news”. Many of the stories I quote are largely the opinions and experiences of the journalist in question. The experiences and thoughts of those in the blogosphere are not per se less valid. Therefore, when one is particularly topical, thought-provoking, or well-written, I will be including it.

I will continue to focus primarily on professional outlets, because the object of this blog is not just to collect newsworthy and topical pieces. It is also to keep tabs on the amount of media attention that the childfree are receiving. Therefore, I may well include articles that are no better than blog entries I exclude.

I apologize for the off-topic posting, and I certainly will not allow this post to live indefinitely in the archives of this site. However, I would like to give any of our regular readers a chance to respond. After all, if you are only coming here to gauge media attention or to keep abreast of actual news, this shift in policy might well be something that detracts from our usefulness. If this is the case for many of you, I am amenable to rethinking it. However, it is also likely that you all saw that this was not a posting of groundbreaking news, and already moved on.

My aim is certainly to remain unique, and not to become another blog that simply reflects my own thoughts – there are many quality sites out there already doing that. Of the times I do depart from posting media stories, it will only be to refer to posts that in some way deal with wider national and international issues facing the childfree. After all, the lack of such a site is what inspired a busy law student to take on such a project in the first place.

I think this is notable (as well as repostable, since I do discuss the class!) since I never expected the class to start affecting my perspective quite so much. Indeed, I never expected it to have an impact outside of the class itself, letalone outside of law school. But it has. That’s what happens when you strip down assumptions and start thinking philosophically about things.

I am getting my “Doctorate of Jurisprudence” and jurisprudence is actually the philosophy of law. Studying philosophy that is both useful and marketable. It’s like I found the largest loophole in academia.

By no means have my other classes lacked this component – indeed much of my property reading was philosophy-based and got me rethinking the way I think about property itself. Almost all my classes have reshaped my perception of law – or at least gotten me to think about it on a very deep level. Perhaps it is because the subject of this class is not confined to such narrow topics, or perhaps it is because it encompasses subjects that I take part in every day life (such as blogs and wikis), but this is somehow different.

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