I still love to read about the emerging influence of bloggers in the political sphere. (Wonder when that will happen in the education world…) An article titled “Bloggers Become Weapon in US Presidential Election” from Agence France-Presse says that bloggers
have become a vital source of information and commentary, and an alternative to traditional newspapers and television.
And yesterday as I was listening to a discussion on NPR about how most people don’t really tune into the news any more, the host mentioned blogs as a viable alternative that the younger generation might make good use of. (By the way, did you know that the median age of people watching network news is 60!!! Wow.)
But the one quote I liked best from the article was from Howard Finberg at the Poynter Institute, who said bloggers “…are, in a sense, an editor on your behalf.” I absolutely love that metaphor; blogger as editor. And that’s why I think every student should have a blog and be blogging. Because they all need to be editors, every single one of them. Because there is soooo much information out there and because most schools aren’t doing much to teach them how to be smart consumers of that information. (Only a fairly small percentage take the media literacy course we started here.) I’ll say this again, they may not end up being bloggers, but they need to end up thinking like bloggers regardless.
Tom Kennedy says
Will, can you define what it means to “think like a blogger?”
I, too, heard the discussion on public radio about blogs as news sources, but I am troubled by the lack of quality control. I think blogs are a good source of opinion and discssion, but question the wisdom of using them for a news source, per se.
Will R. says
Thinking like a blogger means to analyze and synthesize the information that you consume, not just simply consume it. Blogging, in the way I define it, is brain engaging stuff. You’re right in that you shouldn’t use Weblogs as a news source, per se, unless of course you are blogging yourself. That’s why every student should have a blog, to learn how to do the heavy info literacy lifting that we all need to do these days.
Corrie Bergeron says
I watched the blogs take apart the CBS memos story and have followed a good part of the followup commentary. The heavy lifters on that were powerlineblog.com and hughhewitt.com, with able assists from captainsquartersblog.com, littlegreenfootballs.com and of course the free-wheeling freerepublic.com where the story broke.
Blogs may actually have better QC than MSM, because there are an army of fact-checkers who will nail you in real time if you blow it. Case in point, instapundit ran with a story and within a couple of hours it turned out to not have a factual basis. Glenn ran a retraction, not on p. A16 like the NY Times does, but at the top of his page.
Bloggers link to each other, read each other, and keep each other honest.
There’s a danger to blogging, though, and that’s a tendency to reduce analysis to off-the-cuff remarks rather than in-depth critical thinking. (And I’m certainly guiltly of that.) You’ll note, though, that “serious” bloggers (inlcuding most of those listed above) also tend to be published authors. Blogging doesn’t replace the essay or the research paper by any means, but I think it can help students write better essays and papers. If nothing else, it’s writing practice. (And I think it’s a good deal more.)
James Lileks (humorist, blogger, columnist, book author) had this trenchant observation: (http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/04/0904/093004.html)
“Put it this way: there are thousands of news junkies out there doing research and analysis for free. In their spare time. For fun. It would kill us to listen? After all, if the Rathergate tale taught us anything, it’s that ordinary people could blow ten-foot holes in the Good Ship CBS simply by comparing their knowledge to the manifest ignorance of the news division’s producers. Because I’ll tell you this about “ordinary” people: they know stuff. ” (emphasis in the original)
My blog: sddc.blogspot.com
Corrie Bergeron says
Sorry, here are live links:
and of course http://sddc.blogspot.com/ 😉