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Blogging becomes past time

Sara Felsenstein | Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No one graduates with a degree in blogging. So what qualifies someone as a blogger? 

The ease of maintaining a blog caused a surge in online opinion worldwide and changed the dynamic of the mainstream media.
 
Matthew Storin, professor of Journalism, Ethics and Democracy and former editor of The Boston Globe, defines a blog as a place where a person posits opinions and then takes responses to those opinions.
 
Today, popular bloggers impact areas ranging from politics to business, literature to sports.
 
Blogspot, Livejournal, Blogger and WordPress are just some of the free blogging sites available to the public. Considering the countless number of blogs that compose the blogosphere, most bloggers have influence on smaller audiences.
 
Seniors Andrew Mitsch, Antonio Carranza, Kevin Donohue and Mike Lee started a blog this September to promote Jimmy Clausen’s consideration for the Heisman Award.
 
“I contribute to the blog a few times a week, as do the other bloggers. We have tentatively split the content by Heisman candidate, but we are all pretty free to write about whatever we want,” Mitsch said. “The goal is to show why the other candidates are very good but not as deserving of the award as Jimmy.”
 
Other students on campus use the blog outlet as a form of personal expression. Sophomore Katie Pieper mainly writes blogs on music, movies and humor. 
 
“I write mostly for myself and my close friends — just observations about the world and silly things I’m thinking of and want to share. My goal as a blogger is to entertain,” Pieper said.
 
Senior Johanna Kirsch blogs to be a part of an online community.
 
“I’m LiveJournal ‘friends’ with people at all different stages of life from all sorts of backgrounds, and I’m good friends with many of them beyond the arbitrary LiveJournal designation. Being part of a community allows me to toss out ideas, or ask questions of people who I know will know more about something than I will,” Kirsch said.
 
Blogs have also affected the dynamic of the mainstream media. Despite constrained budgets, news corporations like The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune have adopted extensive blog sections to their Web sites. Storin said these blogs do not generate much money, but they help the companies stay on top of the news beat and appear “less retro.”
 
“It used to be if a newspaper did a controversial story it would get complaints through snail mail about three days later … now [with blogs] it’s three minutes later,” Storin said.
Blogging is different than traditional media forms in that readers can have a last word on the news. Blogs are not just a story — they are a conversation. 
 
Storin said blogs give people who hold strong opinions the opportunity to voice those opinions publicly. 
 
“[Blogs] really add to debate and discourse, sometimes in a very unfiltered, even crude way,” he said.
 
Blogs can indicate a trend of opinion among the public, Storin said. Especially in political situations, they can be a way to gage public sentiments.
 
“Sometimes the slightest intimation that blogs are not important is met by a common cry of complaint and resistance,” Storin said. “The impact in reality [of blogs] is somewhat south of where the participants think it is, and somewhat north of where mainstream media thinks it is.”
 
Many blogs, by their very nature, come with a bias attached.
 
“[The bias of blogs] makes them more attractive to certain readers … the more strongly held political opinions of these readers, the more likely they are to go to certain blogs,” Storin said.
 
With so many blogs and so much contradicting content available on the web, facts can often get suffocated in opinion.
 
“What is diluted is a sense of what is real news. The day in and day out difficult work of gathering info and having the means to convey it — that’s greatly threatened,” Storin said.
The way YouTube videos rise to unprecedented popularity, reaching millions of views and then suddenly disappear into cyberspace, the popularity of individual blogs can also rise and fall rapidly.
 
Storin said he believes the future of media will include blogs, just not quite as many of them.
 
“I ­think the fad of blogs will fade some,” Storin said. “Blogs will stay around … because stating an opinion is one of the most basic elements of life in a functioning democracy.”
 

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

archive

Blogging becomes past time

Sara Felsenstein | Monday, October 5, 2009

No one graduates with a degree in blogging. So what qualifies someone as a blogger?

The ease of maintaining a blog caused a surge in online opinion worldwide and changed the dynamic of the mainstream media.

Matthew Storin, professor of Journalism, Ethics and Democracy and former editor of The Boston Globe, defines a blog as a place where a person posits opinions and then takes responses to those opinions.

Today, popular bloggers impact areas ranging from politics to business, literature to sports.

Blogspot, Livejournal, Blogger and WordPress are just some of the free blogging sites available to the public. Considering the countless number of blogs that compose the blogosphere, most bloggers have influence on smaller audiences.

Seniors Andrew Mitsch, Antonio Carranza, Kevin Donohue and Mike Lee started a blog this September to promote Jimmy Clausen’s consideration for the Heisman Award.

“I contribute to the blog a few times a week, as do the other bloggers. We have tentatively split the content by Heisman candidate, but we are all pretty free to write about whatever we want,” Mitsch said. “The goal is to show why the other candidates are very good but not as deserving of the award as Jimmy.”

Other students on campus use the blog outlet as a form of personal expression. Sophomore Katie Pieper mainly writes blogs on music, movies and humor.

“I write mostly for myself and my close friends – just observations about the world and silly things I’m thinking of and want to share. My goal as a blogger is to entertain,” Pieper said.

Senior Johanna Kirsch blogs to be a part of an online community.

“I’m LiveJournal ‘friends’ with people at all different stages of life from all sorts of backgrounds, and I’m good friends with many of them beyond the arbitrary LiveJournal designation. Being part of a community allows me to toss out ideas, or ask questions of people who I know will know more about something than I will,” Kirsch said.

Blogs have also affected the dynamic of the mainstream media. Despite constrained budgets, news corporations like The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune have adopted extensive blog sections to their Web sites. Storin said these blogs do not generate much money, but they help the companies stay on top of the news beat and appear “less retro.”

“It used to be if a newspaper did a controversial story it would get complaints through snail mail about three days later … now [with blogs] it’s three minutes later,” Storin said.

Blogging is different than traditional media forms in that readers can have a last word on the news. Blogs are not just a story – they are a conversation.

Storin said blogs give people who hold strong opinions the opportunity to voice those opinions publicly.

“[Blogs] really add to debate and discourse, sometimes in a very unfiltered, even crude way,” he said.

Blogs can indicate a trend of opinion among the public, Storin said. Especially in political situations, they can be a way to gage public sentiments.

“Sometimes the slightest intimation that blogs are not important is met by a common cry of complaint and resistance,” Storin said. “The impact in reality [of blogs] is somewhat south of where the participants think it is, and somewhat north of where mainstream media thinks it is.”

Many blogs, by their very nature, come with a bias attached.

“[The bias of blogs] makes them more attractive to certain readers … the more strongly held political opinions of these readers, the more likely they are to go to certain blogs,” Storin said.

With so many blogs and so much contradicting content available on the web, facts can often get suffocated in opinion.

“What is diluted is a sense of what is real news. The day in and day out difficult work of gathering info and having the means to convey it – that’s greatly threatened,” Storin said.

The way YouTube videos rise to unprecedented popularity, reaching millions of views and then suddenly disappear into cyberspace, the popularity of individual blogs can also rise and fall rapidly.

Storin said he believes the future of media will include blogs, just not quite as many of them.

“I ­think the fad of blogs will fade some,” Storin said. “Blogs will stay around … because stating an opinion is one of the most basic elements of life in a functioning democracy.”