Why Blogs Can’t Replace Newspapers

Blogs Vs. Newspapers. Little comparison.

Blogs Vs. Newspapers. Little comparison.

by RYAN BOLTON

What I want to get at is the possible future of newsgathering. Or so it is implied. Blogs. In my last entry, I highlighted the fall of the print industry over the past years and its desperate need for a revolution. An awakening from its complacent ways. And while the issue for the demise of print is multifaceted at best, many quickly turn the gun on blogs. But the one crucial problem that everyone (save for David Simon) seems to overlook is excruciating.

And myopic.

The problem arises mainly out of the fact that bloggers simply don’t have the capacity to fulfill the journalist’s shoes. I think it is too easily assumed that a sea of bloggers can just as easily replace an entire industry built on ethics, professionalism and due diligence. This thought is scary. As it stands, most “bloggers” write fluff pieces or commentary on an issue at hand. It’s all from an admitted subjective voice that rarely consists of research, interviewing or fighting to get both sides of the story. They simply reflect, attack and repeat.

The newspaper industry, conversely, actively seeks out its information trying to be as fair as possible to both sides. Or, as they say in the industry, attempting to be objective. Running to city hall, calling up sources to get their insight, sending reporters to war zones and having the resources to effectively pursue an investigative story. In short, to pursue the truth and tell it. From my experiences, save maybe for the Huffington Post which is more a newspaper than a blog, I don’t see blogs doing any of the above. They just don’t have the resources to do an in-depth investigative story on why the Iraq War was a failure. Or the capacity to send a trained writer alongside an interpreter and protection to investigate. And for someone to point out that blogs are simply the future of newspapers is just sad. Sure they are updated to the minute and sometimes offer great opinion pieces, but really, they aren’t the newsgatherers. They’re the reflectors. And if we’re to rely on blogs as news, then I don’t even know what to expect. Just commentary steeped in unsupported drivel maybe.

David Simon, a retired newspaperman from the Baltimore Sun and writer of the acclaimed TV show, The Wire, sums it up best, saying: “A neighbour with a garden hose and good intentions is not a citizen firefighter. To say so is a heedless insult to trained firefighters.” So is the story for journalists. Let’s think twice before we dismiss the newspaper industry and let the facts subside to subjective storytelling. Because if that occurs, we won’t even have to guess what’s fact and what’s fiction.

A version of this article originally appeared on Lutherans Connect.

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