For one of the most comprehensive looks at all angles of the Web logs as journalism story check out the Nieman Foundation report which features no less than 18, that’s right, 18 essays on the effects that blogs are having. For me, this is incredibly interesting stuff that I am definitely going to bring to my class. For even non-journalists, I think it’s required reading because like it or not, journalism IS where Web logs are having the most profound effect right now, at least in as much as they are stirring real debate. Inherent in that whole discussion, of course, is the underlying thread about writing in general, not just journalism. It’s just that journalists are playing it all out in a very public way, whereas students of writing are being changed by blogs in more inconspicuous ways. But as I’ve alluded to before, I think we’re on the verge of some serious study of Web logs’ effect on student writing. In fact, I’m hoping to be a part of that research in some way.
I have to say that the more I read Jay Rosen and Doc Searles and Jeff Jarvis and David Weinberger, the more I believe in this tool as a way to not only communicate but spur serious thinking and analysis. Jay’s post on the Bill O’Reilly incident with Terry Gross on fresh air just blew my mind because it forced me to see a different angle on that whole thing. And Doc’s follow up is equally challenging but important. And therein lies the key to this whole thing, the constant thread and analysis that Web loggers do. It seems like my thinking just keeps getting pushed and pushed by what I read in these spaces, moreso than anywhere else because there are other voices that chime into the conversation. I love Paul Krugman. But I’d love Paul Krugman even more if he got a Web log. Like Jeff says, they all should be blogging:
That is why weblogs are great for such people. It is a way for them to interact with their audiences without having to write individual letters. It is a way for them to answer the same comment or question from many people at once. It is a way to enter an actual conversation. And better yet, we all get to watch. I far prefer it when people leave comments on my blog vs. sending email, for, again, I am a bad email correspondent (sorry, Uncle Richard and all the rest of you!) and I prefer to have the conversation in public.
I’m still amazed at how cool it is to watch all this as it happens.