Losing out to social media?

Bloggers are random losers who don’t get published.

That’s exactly what my Journalism teacher told the entire class one day. Amidst no retorts and no “you better have a good reason for saying this”, her statement stood like a wall of fact. But was it really?

Recently, a lot of questions and speculations have come up about how print media is dying and while, I’m one of those who firmly believe it not to be so, in my opinion I think it has led to many print media professionals feeling a bit threatened about our increasing reliance on the world wide web  for information and the number of opportunities it has opened up for “non-journalists” to act/feel like they are in actuality, journalists.

It’s almost like how you’d react to a new co-worker who is just younger and better.

However, is there any cause for jealousy?

I think not. For one, I don’t think the social media “intends” to replace the print industry. Even though, more and more people are now relying on Twitter and their Facebook newsfeeds for such thing as weather updates, traffic blockages and new laws and regulations, a considerable number of people still continue to browse through newspapers to acquaint themselves with a particular style of reporting or let’s just say for a “more authentic” feel anyway.

One of the most oft quoted accusation against blogging has been about how it’s unedited and relies heavily upon the judgement or the intelligence of the person writing. While that’s mostly true, the fact that internet is accessible to everyone – blogger or not, sort of arms the readers with the ability to cross-check and make sure for themselves about whether what they are reading is just baseless or holds some weight.

Also, the fact that a number of people can comment right underneath the blog  increases the chances of the reader getting a more unbiased perspective than we think he is getting since he is privy to multiple opinions on the subject – something he normally can’t achieve during a news report on TV or on print.

Besides, with blogging you do have a certain amount of freedom. There are no deadlines, only the need to be relevant at the time of writing. There are no word count limitations or even editorial pressure to present or not present a certain perspective, depending upon the institutional pressures a publication is exposed to.

While that is frowned upon by hardcore journalists, a number of newspapers like The News, Dawn.com and The Express Tribune have taken the decision to publish blogs on their websites. They certainly aren’t put up unedited and unchecked. They go through a certain procedure, checked for authenticity and facts before they are put up.

While some of the factions all over the world continue to look down upon or don’t seriously take the implications of social media on readership habits, it’s true that with time, they are changing. Even though I’m an avid reader and a fan of the classic, I wouldn’t raise a hue and cry about reading  a newspaper on an e-tablet.


2 thoughts on “Losing out to social media?

  1. Blogs however do not undergo rigorous fact checking do they on the whole. The problem with blogs generally is that there seems to be a lack of appreciation of the Internet as a social conduit and database.

    People commenting generally has little value sadly because primarily the first comments are generally supportive of the article (in which case there is no difference of opinion). Add to that the people generally go for the most popular comments and one can see a self reinforcing cycle.

    Social media is a great tool but the gist of the professors statement seems sound; bloggers have no pressure for peer review.

  2. Your comment right here is reflective of the fact that the initial comments are not always supportive. That’s because blogs are different from a Facebook status where the readers are not necessarily your friends.
    Saying bloggers have no pressure for peer review does not justify the statement made by the professor. Considering how time-pressed reporters are, even they aren’t as reviewed by peers as we’d like to think.
    And my point is, bloggers aren’t reporting either. At least, most of them aren’t. Then why the bad press? Blogs are more like detailed features. If I want to read up on a news story I’d still go for a newspaper.
    Moreover, just like I mentioned in the post, blogs nowadays are being published by newspapers themselves so that does away with the peer-review argument since they are reviewed and edited and published (contradicting the “professor”‘s statement).

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