Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


Why Bloggers Are Important.

Last week, Michael Silence asked whether he should continue blogging, and then decided he would, and I want to expand on something he said.

It's not that his opinions are important, but that he has opinions, and has a forum to express them that's the important part. It's why we all blog; we have something to say, and blogging let's us say it.

Now, it used to be that the press was the voice of the people, but somewhere along the line, they forgot that. Instead of reporters they became advocates. The problem with being an advocate is that you no longer speak for all of the people, just for the group you're favoring. To make matters worse, since then, journalists have forgotten that they no longer speak for or even to all the people. Nowhere is this more clear than in the media's reaction to the growth of the blogosphere.

They were outraged. How dare the common man think that his opinion was worth sharing! What arrogance! Had he gone to journalism school? Were his columns distributed by syndicates? Did he make a living off of his writing? Then why should he think his opinion matters enough to share? It was almost as if many old school journalists felt like they had some official mandate to be the only ones with a voice.

And to be fair, until blogging came along, they were right. They were the only ones with a voice. And if you didn't like what they had to say, your only option was to turn off the TV, or stop reading the newspaper.

Now we have a choice. If my local news outlets aren't covering an issue to my satisfaction, detailed, in depth coverage and analysis is only a few mouse clicks away. To use a current example, Kathryn Johnston, an elderly woman, was shot and killed during a no-knock raid on her home. Compare the KNS coverage here (Article found doing a search for "Kathryn Johnston") with the coverage by Radley Balko. Just scroll down the page. There are multiple entries about the affair.

One article with little information vs a dozen or more detailed articles. That's the blogosphere.

And this isn't a knock on the KNS or any other paper for that matter. They have neither the space nor the resources to provide the in depth coverage this story demands. Even though no-knock warrants are a national issue, unless one goes bad locally, the KNS will not be able to cover it in any kind of detail.

Blogging gives a voice to all of those who have been squelched out either by editorial bias, or by the economic constraints of the old media. And that's why bloggers are important.

We the people are now speaking for ourselves. That makes each voice, whether it is talking about politics, sports, puppies, or dating, important. There's a bonus in this for the media. Since we can all advocate for ourselves, maybe the reporters can get back to what they do better than bloggers.

Posted by Rich
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