For the purpose of this paper, I decided to explore blogs and how not only writing but also what is understood as journalism, has changed due to the techno-culture we live in.
In Jenkins’ article, he demonstrates the way in which democracy in the 21st century has changed as a result of participatory culture. Blogging has been an effective medium through which citizens participate in democracy by expressing their concerns, and challenging the mainstream media. Unfortunately, this new form of writing has often been discounted to amateur writing because of its “web-nature”. Some scholars such as Jay Rosen, argue that journalism should not be limited to “professional” journalists who write for mainstream-newspapers. Journalism, he states is a skill of writing and can happen on any platform, blogs being the current platform. Furthermore, this form of journalism is a way of bringing power back to the people. In Struggle Against Forgetting, Professor Carey reminds his students of where journalism began and for what purpose. This demonstrates how blogs are an example of true journalism, writing “in the name of a wider social contract, in the name of the formation of a genuine public life and a genuine public opinion”.
In Blogging Outloud: Shifts in Public Voice, Boyd discusses the fundamental reasons for blogs. She states that blogs aren’t written for publishing purposes but rather for communication ones. People write blogs to share information and to share a piece of themselves through their posting. Blogs do not have restrictions with regards to content, and represents a safe environment for conversation. It can be said that blogs emulate the public sphere through facilitating discussion of relevant public issues. Moreover, the Internet offers anonymity providing equality for the participants, which is a known criteria of what consists of a public sphere.
Just like there are “bad” journalists, there are “bad” blogs, however implementing a system to restrict the “bad” blogs would defeat the whole purpose of why blogs exist. Nonetheless, there are many blogs that have been recognized for the work they produce. The key to writing a good blog regardless of the subject is research. The misconceptions with blogs are that they are not credible sources of information—which is not always the case. Rebecca Blood argues that good bloggers research information just as much as “professional” journalist do. Sometimes, blogs deliver better stories than the mainstream because they are able to display an outside of the box perspective because they have no publisher to please.
Regular people are breaking news and sharing their information through such mediums quicker than the news can. This demonstrates that people are taking matters into their own hands as a result of the digital culture we live in. This change is being recognized by the mass media, and traditions are changing. For example, news stations now have blogs, twitter accounts and Facebook pages. People are spending more time on these platforms, therefore by integrating themselves into it they not only participate but they can observe and receive information from the audiences—which works to their advantage. Traditional media is threatened because now there is more than one message being spread around and that decreases their power.