Bora Zivkovic: “Not all bloggers want to be journalists.” Bora talks about science blogging in particular, but you could apply his explanation to any discipline.
I’d like to add that those of us in New Orleans in late 2005 learned quickly that if we didn’t blog, many local and national journalists would write a limited or outright false narrative for us, not stray from it even if evidence arose to the contrary and repeatedly drum it into the minds of the rest of the nation and world. Following that, actual policy, rebuilding solutions and national slogans would be based on this manufactured consensus reality, these prevailing but rather shaky premises. *shudder*
Again, it’s not just about controlling your message, but keeping in mind that what you put out there has very real consequences, such as the information and reactions of very real people. A lot of perspectives then in many different voices is a good thing. As Ed Yong said just today, once again with respect to science but immediately applicable to your area of expertise, “We’re all aware of the problems of mainstream science reporting. It’s not all bad. I reckon most of it is probably quite good. But it could be a lot better. And scientist bloggers have the potential to make it a lot better.”
As blogging versus/as journalism is brought up again (for some unknown reason – thought we buried this dead horse some time in 2006), it’s important to read a recent post by Mark Folse. For those of you who don’t know Mark, he is a former ink-stained wretch and current poet-author-blogger who has published newspaper articles, books and blogs.
Blogging is a category so generic as to be almost meaningless. It would be like calling all writers “bookers”. If anything, this bit of the Internet has evolved from a sort of cork-board of odd pictures and moments into something else, just as Wet Bank Guide evolved from an exercise in explaining Katrina and the Federal Flood into one of explaining New Orleans.
Journalists wanting to be bloggers. Bloggers wanting to be journalists. Oh, enough already. Take my advice: Your knowledge and your voice. Take it and just write. Write for whatever reason makes you want to write and don’t let anyone define writing or blogging or tweeting or next-big-thinging for you. Write your heart out regardless of format, word count or number of readers. Just write.
Coming back to the holy/holey narrative, how many of you scientists or science lovers began to blog as a direct result of crappy, but more importantly, spineless, agenda-based science reporting in major newspapers and cable news? Check these out: Memo To Scott McClellan: Here’s What Happened and The Smithsonian Defends Censorship. You, blogger, journalist, whatever you call yourself, don’t have to belong to the Catholic Church Of Journalism if you don’t want to. You don’t have to give in to “We were afraid for our jobs, funding and continued existence, so caved to whatever demands those in power placed on us.” You can sack it up and tell it like it is.
What is the heart of journalism really, other than love and respect for (ferreting out) information and getting it out there to as many people as possible with as little pretense and fanfare as possible? He who ceases to be a student was never a student. Let’s concern ourselves more with the content and less the form and, yup, just write.
P.S. As long as anyone gets all uppity about what blogging should or shouldn’t be, what posts should or shouldn’t include and OMG The Internet Is Serious Business Journalism With A Capital J, I will include images of LOLcats in any post on this topic. Peace out.