June 29, 2008
Dear Alan, Ira, Elisa and Rex:
This evening, again, the subject of Blogs came up during your show, the Media Project. And, to nobody’s particular surprise, the usual, superficial analysis was quickly dispensed: bloggers are not journalists, blogs have no quality control, blogs are too quick, blogs have no restraints, blogs by anonymous writers are irresponsible, blogs don’t gather news, some blogs print “horrible” things. I’ve come to expect this.
The fact is that there are millions of blogs. For political and cultural analysis these come in two main types: group blogs (e.g., daily Kos in left Blogistan) and individual blogs. Individual blogs, like newspapers, radio, and TV, have enormous variations in intelligence and quality. Some are absolutely brilliant; others, unreadable. But both kinds of blogs are extremely democratic: anybody with access to a computer can be a writer and express an opinion or an analysis or spread a story. Anybody with a comment about a story is free to post it. Yoanni Sanchez, a prizewinning Cuban blogger, uses the computer at the local library. One doesn’t need money to be a blogger. Only time and desire. Bloggers who are no good remain unread and eventually give up. Bloggers who have something to say are ultimately recognized and build a readership.