Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blogs and Journalism

   I read, a lot, online, and from news sources and printed media. I enjoy the 'outside views' and the 'insider information'. As a hobby, I 'people watch', in my vocation I listen to people. All theses allow me to see a bigger picture than what my own eyes can observe, and allows me to understand, a little better, than where my own thoughts can lead me to understand about my world. I am a creature of curiosity, a student of questions and a philosopher of life that takes me many directions. However, I can and do make mistakes in my observations based on the information I observe. Sometimes we do not always see the same things, sometimes we miss a detail or two, and sometimes, we only see what we want.
   I tend to forget sometimes that there are resounding differences between Blogs and Journalism. Blogs are for the most part personal writings and observations of others who wish to share their visions, opinions and interpretations based on emotions, information and personal experiences. While these Bloggers do tend to do some if not extensive research into and for these Blogs, these are not non-bias reports. Journalism, from what I was taught in High School, is reporting of facts and information in a non-bias base to educate or inform the general public of events and ideas. There is usually much research involved, and references are given to ensure that this information could be cross-checked and continually researched for further developments and later date fact checking allowing for a historical record of information. Although much alike, the two are very different.
   In today's information age and society of internet access, we tend to blur the lines between 'good reporting' and 'open source informational blogs'. We find good information in both, and select lines of information to follow, yet we forget about news and tend to follow opinion, and in doing so, we also find sources that we disagree with and feel the need to 'comment' on either source; blog or news journal source. Yes, I agree and point out frequently myself, that today's "News Journalism" is not so non-bias and many are all but blogs for the producers side of the 'story'. Case in point would obviously be anything from a FOX News outlet. But all of today's media, at least the mainstream media (ABC, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, USA Today, ect,ect) has fallen prey to corporate owned and or backed entities that would like nothing less than to control how and what we think and do so by editing and displaying only what they want us to see, hear and understand what the 'news' is. This is not something new, it is an old tried and true, time tested maneuver of 'those in power' controlling the masses 'under them' into a sense of submission and domination. It actively allows confusion and easy discrediting any opposing view or information due to it's elevation of 'True' source or 'authority'. Basically, everything and anything else is misinformed, uninformed or 'treasonous' information and 'upstarts' of 'discontent'.
   Enter today's bloggers! Free individuals, without direct oversight from the 'people in power' and what news we find! We see so much more of the 'behind the scenes', the little revealed maneuvers of politics and government, the 'other side of the story' and 'the rest of the story' as told to us by those who either took the time to research these things or have strong opinions of these things or both. Yeah! Go us! But readers beware! Not all Bloggers are equal, not all Bloggers are accurate, and not all Bloggers are trying to inform you or even to fool you. again, KNOW THY SOURCE should be a mainstay in any and all of your sources about any and all you are researching and following. Bloggers, although are a good thing to have to keep a lot of information and misinformation in check, they too can be sources of misinformation fed by the same lines as the biased news and lost journalists. (Mind you that not all of today's journalists are bias and work to purposely misinform, many are edited so overtly that what they submitted for print and what was printed read like two different stories.)
   We like to find sources that we agree with and disagree with. We like to post commentary on both sources, in support and in defense or 'correcting them'. This is allowed on most blog and news sites, and is freely open, regarding a few comment or posting rules so that we 'play nice' and offer some sort of respect. I dig that, it follows our American (USA) Constitutional right of free speech, and allows the site owners to remain in control of their sites.   I question a lot, sometimes too much I think, and sometime not enough I find. I look to the information source, and a lot of times dig even deeper when things don't seem to add up. Call me a 'news skeptic', but it allows me to find out many related things about what I am searching for or researching into. Direct information and indirect supporting information sometimes can be and is manipulated by the authors of it to lead you in one direction or another. That should always be looked into and suspect of misinformation.
Ah, here I go lecturing about how to research...
   For the most part, I follow this advise and opinion of mine about news and blogs, and even research as deep and the information allows. Sometimes I get caught up in a story or event, and forget to go much further than the source that lead me to either support it or 'attack it'. Now I for one almost never directly attack the person who wrote an article or blog, but I will attack it's source, and I rarely personally 'attack' an individual without facts and evidence that supports my information or opinion. And no, I will never slander another blogger, even in my own blogs. We all make mistakes, we are all subject to misinformation and misleading evidence. That is our own bias, opinions and sources. We sometimes fail to see that 'bigger picture'.
   We also are subject to 'pissing people off' by our blogs, and our commentary posting. That too is normal and seen daily if you cruise through news sites, blogs and forums online. We are , no matter how logical or civil we believe ourselves, are subject to emotion, and therefore emotional responses. Now it comes to the matter or subject of ethical action. No, no lecture from me on this. Just information....
    Online forums, social groups, personal blogs and pages (mostly hosted on social media sites) have those pesky and welcome 'comment' sections. These are mostly open to any and all who might find themselves there, and are likely to use the 'comment' to say their piece. These are public, semi-public, and searchable by anyone. Use your best judgement, but don't be offended or surprised that someone, at sometime or another, is going to offend you, 'attack' you or your ideas and opinions, or just plain decides that they don't like you. In today's world, 'stalking', 'trolling', flameing' and 'blocking' and 'deleting' have so much more in definition and application on line. We are all subject to them.
    Well, besides this day's BLOG entry, I have no NEWS. I am not a Journalist for any network or media company. I freelance write now and again and I freely blog my opinions and share information. If I upset you, not my intention. If I made you think, then I have done my job.

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