Bloggersgoing too far?

Take a look at the Washington Post article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17462-2005Feb11.html

Three years ago, CNN's chief news executive Eason Jordan made a comment which implied that U.S. troops in Iraq killed journalists intentionally. This caused waves and waves of attacks from bloggers, so much so that it led to him resigning from CNN soon after. In fact, the bloggers found out about Jordan's comments a week before major newspapers like the Washington Post and the Boston Globe even knew about.

There's no doubt that a good number of those bloggers that attacked Jordan are journalists. Is it right for journalists to affect the outcome of news, like they did here? Perhaps they are under the impression that on blogs, there are no standards to uphold. And what about the news organizations that reported this story about Jordan's comments? Since many of them found out about the incident only after they read the blogs, it is entirely possible that the information they reported are bias and inaccurate.

One article I read said this: it's unfair that Eason, after 23 years of good deeds for CNN, loses his job because of one bad one. Jordan's comments, although offensive to some people, did not cause any direct harm to others. So its it fair that he lost his job because he said something stupid, when in fact all of us say stupid things everyday? I get the impression that bloggers sometimes are too eager to look for fresh meat and not eager enough to think about the consequences.


Extended Forecast

It is the nature of teenagers
to rebel against their parents.
What will e-journalism look like 20 years from now?


I sometimes muse over how our children will view technology.

Ours is the generation of Facebook. Cell phones and iPods made their appearance on the teen scene about the time we were in high school. Now, as young men and women, we're pioneering texting, Twitter, Google News and MySpace and we're among the first twentysomethings to have (through the Web) a grand total of all information at our disposal.

As our technology increases---think how few of our parents had cellulars as recently as 1993---who can imagine what communication will look like a few decades from now?

Yet if electronic connectedness becomes a mark of our generation (perhaps like disco in the '70s or I Love Lucy earlier), and if teenagers naturally tend to shy away from whatever their parents find cool, is it possible that young folk around 2020 or 2030 will want a bit less technology and a bit more personal, face-to-face interaction than we do? Will they develop a suspicion of cell phones to mirror the excitement with which we've embraced them?

Of course, teens may continue to embrace technology like our generation has and dive even deeper into quick communication than anyone our age ever thought possible, which could lead to e-revolutions even more exciting than we've seen in our time. Our grandparents wrote letters; we're writing Twitters. What will our grandkids write?

But let's consider the possibility that the young folks of tomorrow reinvent communications like we have and want something other than the online newsprint of their grandparents (that is, us) for getting information. In this case, there are two options: either we'll see a step back, perhaps toward hard-copy newspapers, or (more likely) we'll see a step sideways to some new electronic medium we can't use yet (like holography) or haven't invented.

Will there be a teen technological counterrevolution when we're 45? Will Web journalism, now the wave of the future, stay the wave of the future that long? Will our electronic lifestyle get more and more electronic, or will we reach a threshold?

I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination.

Is the business of journalism dying out in this online-driven world?

People used to get their news from their local newspapers. Then some of these newspapers became regional or national papers as technology improved and they could be made and sold in bulk and transported long distances. People could read about things happening in their area, around the country, and all over the world while they ate breakfast. Then radio developed as a common way to get news. Families would gather together after dinner and listen to their radio. Next came television and with it, a whole new way of telling stories. Broadcast news has developed so quickly and changed so much in a short period of time. But now the Internet is here. And it is wreaking havoc on the news business, or at least forcing it to change.

With the Internet’s popularity as high as it is, there are now so many options for getting news. The traditional physical newspapers, television newscasts, and radio shows are still there… for now. But each of those outlets now has a website too. So a reader doesn’t have to buy a newspaper, turn on the tv, or listen to the radio. They can read headlines of that newspaper online, watch clips from the tv station online, listen to streaming radio or download podcasts of that radio show.

But, readers also have so many other options of where to get their news. There are topic-specific websites for basically anything and everything. There is Twitter to see headlines from basically every news source. There is Youtube where any type of video can be found, including whole newscasts, raw footage of events, etc. Facebook can even be used as a news source these days. When I want to know who won a Terps sports game, or a Redskins game, or a Ravens game, I check Facebook and everyone’s statuses answer my questions. When I want to know what is happening on campus or in the area, Facebook can have the answers.

And now blogs are the newest news source. Journalists and every day citizens are blogging about events and topics, covering every facet of the world. But these blogs don’t have editors or fact checkers. Many are jam-packed with opinions and half-facts. Some seem like legitimate news sources but are just written by “citizen journalists.” It can be hard to know which blogs to read, which can be trusted, etc.

In my opinion, the classic news sources will always be needed in some facet. They might all just turn into online entities but that type of accountability, reliability, ethics, etc need to be kept in order for the news to be trusted. The business of journalism can not die out. It just needs to morph and change.

Web ethics

The other day, my boss and I were discussing blogs and the new ethical dilemmas they bring to the field of journalism. Like Marista said, people rely so much on blogs, and many people rely more heavily on them than on newspapers when getting their daily news fix. This gives journalism ethics an entirely new dimension. Although there is more hard news on blogs than there has been in the past, it is still a much more laid back news medium than more conventional sources. There is more of a chance of relying on hearsay, and therefore more room for error. Because the blogosphere lacks the stringent accuracy guidelines other news outlets abide by, it seems that legal issues, such as libel, might be more rampant on the internet than in print. I wonder how people think the field will be dealing with these issues in years to come.