Gut Rumbles
 

September 29, 2003

some thoughts on blogging

I got this in an email from JB, with whom I have had some spittle-stained cuss-fights in the past, but we go back a long way on the internet (he was one of the first people to start reading me on a regular basis) and even though I once threatened to ban him from my site, I can never stay pissed off at him for long.

Rob--

Blogs will never replace traditional journalism, for several reasons.

First and foremost, blogs are not traditional journalism. That is the charm of blogging.

Two--except for the 1 or 2% of bloggers that actually make anything but beer
money from blogging, blogging is a labor of love pleasantly divorced from the profit motive--something traditional journalism and editing of the same are for the most part, held captive.

Three--I much prefer the freedom to determine the truth on my own, which
blogs permit, and traditional journalism restricts through stringent editorial decisions, ultimately based upon the concern for sales.

Four--Blogdom performs its editorial tasks--i.e.--corrections of error--out in the open for all to see and, if a part of blogdom, to experience.

For those reasons alone, blogdom has the advantage over traditional
journalism, and its greatest strength is "self-expression" . . . which traditional journalism can never fully permit. It might be years until blogdom challenges traditional journalism head-to-head, but it already has the advantage of freedom of expression. That will always win in the end.

I agree with all four points. Blogs aren't INTENDED to replace traditional journalism. Bloggers don't have the budgets to send people all over the world to cover breaking news. We'll always need Big Journalism for that. But bloggers CAN fact-check the asses of those people doing the Big Journalism reporting.

We'll never take over their baliwick, but we can keep them honest.

Blogging is a "labor of love" for most people that I read. I know that's MY motivation. That's also why you'll never see any ads or a tip jar on my page. I don't resent anyone who can reap some coin from his/her blog-- in fact, I've SENT MONEY to several of them. But I don't do what I do here for money and I don't want any money for doing it. That way I never feel any strings on me and I want to keep it that way. Gut Rumbles is free, folks. That fact leaves me free to write what I want the way I want to here. I don't ever want to change that.

I was fired from the Effingham County Herald after 19 weeks as a columnist because something I wrote pissed off the powerful Salzburger community here. They told the publisher of the weekly rag to get rid of me or they would start pulling ads from the paper. I was, of course, dropped like a hot rock. That can't happen to me on my blog.

Most bloggers don't claim to be Fair and Balanced. I know damned well that I don't. I am a proud Son of the South, very conservative in my view of the role of government, but very liberal in my view of personal freedom. My motto is "Leave Me Alone." I don't need or want any goddam do-gooding nannies protecting me from myself. I am a grown man. I can take care of ME. That's not the government's job.

I consider myself to be an outdoorsman with a greater appreciation of nature than most self-proclaimed environmentalists. The differerence between the tree-huggers and me is that I don't see a festering, methane filled, mosquito-breeding swamp as a "fragile wetland," beautiful just because it's "natural." I see a potential golf course there, and I think we should drain the swamp, kill the mosquitos and make that Bejus-forsaken piece of real estate better than what Mother Nature created there. I don't worship Gaia.

You don't get "truth" here. You get MY OPINION. I make no bones about it, either.

Most blogs are like that. Blogs have a lot more personality than Big Journalism does. If you read a site for a while, you begin to think that you KNOW a lot about the person who writes it. You don't get that from newspapers and TV reporters. And yeah, if you go off on a rant and get caught making a fool of yourself, you can update with an "oops!" or a "mea culpa" right away. (I never do that because I'm never wrong, but some bloggers do.)

I don't expect blogging to take the place of the NYT or CNN. But I don't expect blogs to go away, either. In fact, I expect to see a lot more of them starting every day. It's too easy to do. The good ones shine very quickly anymore because the audience that reads blogs is growing every day.

I see that evolution of the web as a very good thing.

Indeed.


Comments

Why would the folks at Effingham County Herald say you were fired? Judging from what you write here there a good chance your column had offensive, intemperate, and juvenile material. You keep blaming others for your troubles when, it's clear to me, that you are your own worst enemy.

"If you would be loved, be lovable."

Posted by: Beth on September 29, 2003 05:00 PM

The number of people who are shocked, shocked by Acidman's blog, and who keep coming back are intriguing. What did you expect here, love and cuddly animals. The blog is called "Gut Rumbles" for Pete's Sake.

Posted by: Yosemite Sam on September 29, 2003 05:12 PM

Beth, I am a Mammoth-hunter, not a Metrosexual. Get youself a sissy-boy (if you can even find one of those). I definitely ain't your type.

I am highly lovable, but not for the likes of you.

Posted by: Acidman on September 29, 2003 05:33 PM

What would be the point of replacing traditional journalism with something completely different that has all the characteristics of traditional journalism?

Blogging could (I don't say "will", just "could") replace traditional journalism simply by demonstrating that it provides a superior product than traditional journalism -- demonstrating it so well that the demand for traditional journalism simply evaporates.

Posted by: McGehee on September 29, 2003 06:47 PM

This one is another of your "finest hours", A-man. Thanks for writing it.

Posted by: Indigo on September 29, 2003 08:00 PM

Good ol Beth, our resident dumb as a sack of wet hammers troll. Knowing what any reasonably competent adult knows about journalism tells me that Rob could have been fired simply for reporting the facts, thereby irritating the wealthy Salzburgers.

When ad dollars are on the line, don't think that even your inorffensive, temperate, and adult remarks will save you.

Beth, you ignorant slut!

Posted by: Eichra Oren on September 29, 2003 11:39 PM

Being a smartass, I will ignore the trollage and address the post subject:

Blogs seem to be mainly about linking to traditional news sources. It's easier than writing. Blogs are more like the pilot fish that swim around sharks (pro journalism) than a pack of piranhas.

Posted by: sm@rt@ss on September 29, 2003 11:52 PM

I disagree with Smartass. Maybe there is not a lot of original reporting on blogs, but you let an Original Reporter hang a zinger full of lies out there, and he/she WILL be called on it. ALL bloggers use Google and facts are easy to find.

If the big media are the Fourth Estate, blogging is the Fifth Estate.

Posted by: Acidman on September 30, 2003 04:52 PM

I see your point, and raise you this: blogs, then, are an adjunct to traditional news media--but not a replacement.

Somewhat on-topic, I remember as a kid seeing some wealthy Hollywood type on a talk show. He had one of those Associated Press news wires installed in his house, and he saw all kinds of stories that never made it into the papers, and everything was hot off the wire. Now we've got the Internet putting all this news at our fingers, and I think that's pretty cool.

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