We are having fun with this blog, but we sometimes write about serious stuff – and we want to be taken seriously. If we want to be taken seriously then should there not be some due diligence on our part – Some standard by which we hold ourselves accountable? The blogosphere is viewed by the mainstream media with a weary eye. And with just cause.
I would guess that the majority of bloggers are simply sharing information with their family and friends. Your wife has a great blog and I am happy to be able to keep up with my family in another State. Being able to see regular pictures of my grandchildren is a great blessing.
Neither of us are professional journalists – and it shows. We are those wackos who write about five letters to the editor every day. We need business cards that say ‘Give me a topic, I’ll talk!” Serious professional journalists who write columns might write one or two a week. They have editors. They do research. Many bloggers are like the beer drinking football fans who think they can coach better than Herm Edwards of the Kansas City Chiefs (that may be a bad example).
Journalism is a serious profession that has matured over many years. Ben Franklin began as a journalist. Technology has challenged the world of print journalism. That challenge began with television back in the 1950’s. The print media has always held the television journalists in some contempt. John Kennedy was one of the first politicians to understand the fast and unforgiving pace of the marriage of technology and journalism. It is sort of ironic that journalists complain about the downfalls of technology in their profession. It was actually technology that spawned the concept of journalism with the invention of the printing press about 500 years ago. I bet that Franklin’s Farmer’s Almanac was viewed with skepticism by his contemporaries – but I am a blogger and I don’t have to go look this up – I can say whatever I want.
Ultimately there is accountability. It is called a free market. If people don’t like what we write then they don’t have to read our blog – that would be a poor attitude for us to take. I don’t mind someone disagreeing. In fact, we are intentionally opinionated – but we want to be legitimate. We must use sound reasoning and do proper research – we must investigate our sources. So much for having fun with a silly blog.
There are solutions. If we want to talk about current events, to comment on politics, to talk about cooking, to write silly stories about native Americans, to talk about faith and Christianity – then we should probably tell our readers the difference. As we grow we might want to have separate pages for broad topics. We have talked about the use of categories versus the use of tags. We are learning, growing, and maturing as bloggers.
We might be wise to look at what serious journalists have accomplished. We want to forge ahead in this new frontier of cyberspace – but we must be grounded in a set of values that are consistent and respected.
Readers – help us on our journey.