Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Globe: Blogging is Bad, Blah, Blah, Blah

Oh, gawd, please help me. It's another 'blogging is bad," blah, blah, blah story coming from the Boston Globe. What journalistic integrity can you look forward to? Well, how about this nice sentence up near the top:

The case is a startling illustration of how blogging, already implicated in destroying friendships and ruining job prospects, could interfere in other important arenas.
Wow, sounds really bad. Care to elaborate, Boston Globe? Oh, wait, this is the Boston Globe we're talking about. The paper of record is also the paper of reporting innuendo and baseless crap. Quite frankly, I'm sick of all this business. It was another front-paged article on why blogging is bad, evil, controversial or any other term they're either writing or implying!

How about some front-paged articles on the Massachusetts Fifth Congressional Race - fair coverage this time, not just a Niki Tsongas love fest? The blogosphere is setting up a big health care forum for the democratic candidates - anyone care to place bets on the Globe being there? How about coverage on the Dem State Convention, which didn't even receive AP story-type coverage in the Globe? You only read about those things in the blogosphere - or, maybe, local papers... if you're lucky.

The blogosphere is way ahead of the main stream media on thousands of stories that impact people every day. The main stream media is a dying mess of stink more preoccupied with pretty blonds than actual news. I wonder if there's a connection there?

Then, in the rare case that media actually follows up on a story that originated on the blogosphere or was driven by blogo-coverage, do reporters give credit or make mention? Absolutely not. Apparently, journalists never took the same classes that preached against plagiarism that I did. Readers will note I take close care to follow the ethical guidelines of always leaving a source and not over-quoting.

Also telling is the one instance I can think of when the Globe actually quoted from a blogger in the front page of their newspaper (when there wasn't some compromised blogger from a site I've never heard of) - of course, it happened when David and Charley over at Blue Mass Group had something bad to say about Deval Patrick. Notice how the Globe didn't mention any of David's coverage of the Killer Coke scandal last summer, in the heat of the primary campaign. The only serious Globe reporting of that whole incident - which was a huge frakking deal - came from Joan Vennochi, a columnist... and even she didn't mention the blogosphere's coverage, some of which must have helped inform her opinion on that subject.

Does the blogosphere complain? No. Quite frankly, I don't care about that. I do this because issues are important to me and I want the media to cover them - so I wouldn't care if I were just being ignored. However, the Globe (and company) goes out of its way to cover us when some fringe blogger does something stupid (although, in this case, not illegal). We do their work for them, then they attack us because they're afraid of losing revenue and readers. So sorry they can't be kingmakers, but people crave the facts and when the public isn't getting them from the main stream press - they'll get them elsewhere.

Heck, there have even been tries by bloggers to bridge this media gap. There have been several "new media" conferences around the state - where bloggers and newspapers were both invited - and guess who shows up? Bloggers. It's as if newspapers were trying their damned hardest to die out - during a time where we need serious journalism more than ever. It makes my blood boil - I can't even be witty; I'm so pissed off I have to use shameless cliches.

If some fringe blogger decides to make a poor choice, that's not front-page material. It's a hell of a lot less important than the State Democratic Convention, which received no press in the Boston Globe. The state dem party voted in favor of resolutions to end the war and impeach the Vice President and President... and the Globe didn't care. If a blogger digs up key information on a "lobbyist" that's essentially calling Deval Patrick an accomplice to Coca-Cola murder plots - finding out the lobbyist was basically a one-man front who had zero credibility - that is front-paged material, especially when they spent inches quoting the front-man in a previous, prominent article in their very own paper. It's telling which stories the Globe decided to actually put on the front page, because it's usually not the important ones.

So, today's story should surprise no one. Bloggers are bad. If you make a blog, you may never get employed; your friends will hate you and your life will be ruined. That's the Globe's story and they're sticking to it.


Mass Marrier said...

Yeah, them damned bloggers. Fooey on them.

It's a good thing that people don't gossip and wreck friendships or embarrass themselves. Oh, wait. They do.

Then it's good that no one writes letters or emails or personal notes that do those things. Oh, wait. They do.

Then at least, it's good that newspaper reporters and editors always have their facts right, never defame anyone, and never have conflicts of interest. Oh, wait one more time.

Is the Glib trying to say that blogs are responsible for the past few thousand years of human behavior? Well, there you have it. Case proved.

Ari Fertig said...

"Does the blogosphere complain? No. Quite frankly, I don't care about that. I do this because issues are important to me and I want the media to cover them - so I wouldn't care if I were just being ignored."

Really? Isn't the whole thrust of this post a complaint about the dismissal of bloggers?

Look that the Globe has a negative view of bloggers shouldn't be a real mystery--we're competition and most times the blogosphere doesn't have that many good things to say about the MSM. They have no incentive to promote us. And this article in particular wasn't about what your little snippet made it out to be -- it was about a guy who blogged about his own trial. That's just--legally speaking--stupid. I don't think this was a major critique of the "blogosphere," so much a warning not to blog about yourself when you're in the midst of litigation!

Ryan Adams said...

But that's a point I was trying to make - and Mike made with more thrust. Anyone could talk about their own trial, not just a blogger. Yes, it's another "bloggers are bad" peice. Here's the recipe - Some random Blogger + Doing something stupid = on the frong page of some MSM newspaper. It really isn't all that hard to grasp.

I'm not asking for promotion. I'm just pointing out hypocrisy. If the Globe actually did a good job and reported on important stories that WE have covered, I wouldn't have brought up the point. It annoys me, but only minorly so - and most bloggers don't even think about it (hence, "does the blogosphere complain? No."). The reason why it annoys me at all is because I've been on both sides of this media landscape. Granted, my days at a newspaper weren't at a very large newspaper (our circulation was only a few thousand), but I've been through those doors nonetheless. I paid careful attention to proper sourcing and to come up with important stories, some of which were on the front page. I covered online piracy when that was a hot topic, forced-doubling when that was big, and I had a story that revealed an upcoming dorm almost a year before construction had started and well before probably any other student knew. So, I made an effort for poignant stories, honest stories and well reported stories... and that was a college newspaper.

The Globe's front-page treatment of this story implies its importance, but who does it effect? What message does it send? Yo ueven admit that the media - including the Globe - has a negative view of the blogosphere. Yet, you don't care. A newspaper's news is supposed to be completely unbiased: today's Globe peice - bloggers are bad - just isn't. The reason it was on the front page was incredibly biased and the Globe should apologize.

Ari Fertig said...

"Yo ueven admit that the media - including the Globe - has a negative view of the blogosphere. Yet, you don't care. "

Right, I don't care about media bias, that's it.

Of course I care that the media has a negative view of the blogosphere. But I also realize it's in their interest to put us down, and yeah, we should call them out on that.

Obviously this was not front page news -- it certainly doesn't deserve to be above the fold when, say, the presidential ambitions of Thomson are below the fold (though, that's not really news either).

But the article wasn't about the "blogosphere," at all. It was about "blogging" and the perils of being stupid online. Specifically, the perils of blogging about something that's relevant to litigation.

"Blogosphere," to me, implies the greater world of blogging -- the different networks that are all interlinked. This was an article relevant to individuals who happen to blog on their own, without thinking about that context -- and there are a lot of folks out there who do that. They blog about their life, their cat, their vacations, their views on whatever on blogger etc. Are they part of the "blogosphere"? Well...sorta. But they're just "random bloggers" as you put it. That's why it's relevant to a large group of people. Does that make sense?

I feel like there's a distinction between, say, you and Sco and BMG and leftinlowell which are all part of "the MA progressive blogosphere," and my own personal blog meant only to be seen by my friends where I rant about politics. Similarly, the globe wasn't commenting on why the "blogosphere," is bad. And yeah, your equation is about right, and that's why it was stupid of the Globe to write it.

But.... come on guys, being glib while calling the Globe "Glib"?

Ryan Adams said...

Is it an insinuation? Yes. But that's the Globe's insinuation, not mine. Of course, that's my opinion and you're free to agree or disagree.

Mass Marrier said...

Wait, a minute...two minutes...

I'm not supposed to be able to use any wordplay? For decades, I have called the Globe, the Glib, or the the Glob. Years ago, friends who worked for the biggest newspaper in South Carolina called the State the the Snake. All of those slurs have a basis in both reason and humor.

The Globe is often shallow and poorly done in both news and editorial. The Glib is mild, and mine, not Ryan's defamation.

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