Gut Rumbles

March 29, 2007

Some thoughts on blogging

Originally published September 29, 2003

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.


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