Monday, October 20, 2008
We are all Dooned
If you want to know what the future holds, you should be following Doonesbury. The comic's latest storyline revolves around an ex-newspaper guy who's forced to write a blog. Just recently, he lamented that there were 118 million other bloggers out there to compete with.
First of all, there's nothing wrong with blogs. They give a voice to the public. They are not a replacement for the real news media. But the real news media needs to get a clue from these dastardly bloggers. Don't wait on the news. When it happens, get it out there. Don't be afraid to portray life as it really is. Sometimes, people say "Fuck."
And don't be afraid to add some perspective. Don't hide behind the stoopid neutral non-bias mantra (I'm talking to futurists here). That's what gave us years of "Is Global Warming Real?" stories: Quote the experts who say yes. Quote the crackpots or oil execs who said no. Now you have "balance." Don't bother to go the extra step of getting to the truth.
Most blogs are nothing more than commentary on what the real news media says and does. The real news media needs a kick in the pants every so often, and a reminder that there are other perspectives out there besides the ones from the people with the presses and the FCC licenses. Newspapers could be using blogs to their advantage (clicks, commentary, readership) but instead they've tried to brand them as inferior.
OK, I feel like I'm going off on a major tangent. But when it comes to environmental news, you can't beat the blogs. Period. Blogs like Grist and Treehugger and Worldchanging (where folks need to shorten their posts) and Climate Science Watch. I could go on and on. And I'm sure that this post has some holes in its logic. Please feel free to comment. I'm a blogger, remember, without an army of editors staring down on me. It's possible to make a mistake.