Russell (et al.) compares elite media and institutions with bloggers and ponders the following question: “Do bloggers, with their editorial independence, collaborative structure and merit-based popularity more effectively inform the public?” (Reader, page 136). Do you agree? Use examples to illustrate your point of view.
As the Internet stands in its current amalgamation, it forms what could be interpreted as the purest form of democracy. Given that content is created and ruled by its users, more avenues of opinion are available for those who wish to interpret them (perfectly exemplified in a blog such as this). Given that I interpret this to be the case, it also seems logical for me to agree that bloggers are a more effective information source than traditional news media.
As Russell, Ito, Richmond and Tuters (2008) note, bloggers hold advantage over traditional media sources as they maintain a specific freedom from economic influences and restraint. Because of this, bloggers are able to operate in a media with high exposure, while often offering non-conventional information.
Though I am fundamentally opposed to many of his opinions, Andrew Boltserves as a good example of a blogger who is able to expose his views through the maintenance of a weblog (2011). While he is also an established journalist, the information available on his blog serves as a more direct and thorough method from which to spout his opinions, than can occur through traditional media. For Bolt’ followers, his blog serves as a highly effective source of information, free from the obvious bias that occurs within all other established news sources.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Bolt can also be seen as representing a necessary counterpoint to established media truths (such as views on the stolen generation, climate change, etc) and therefore his blog finds a democratic purpose. So, because Bolt would not be able to express his full opinion in the established media, blogging gives him the opportunity to freely express his views and offer challenges to accepted connotations… even if he doesn’t particuarly deserve it. And really, isn’t that what democracy is all about?
While this works on a personal level, useful information that can be gathered from a blog is often difficult to find when considering the millions of pointless weblogs in existence. For this reason, blogs have yet to overtake established media sources in their consumer effectiveness. However, in regions of the globe where citizens are savvier regarding their news sources, organizations have been established to combine the content effectiveness of blogs, and the structure of established media. The Slovenian website Drugi Svet (2011) is an example of a site that congregates relevant blog projects from individuals and makes them readily available for consumers, thereby providing all the perks of blog sourced information with none of the disadvantages.
In Australia, the general consensus regarding established media is often regarded to be less cynical and more transparent than other nations around the globe (nobody gets surprised when The Age runs a story shamelessly paying out on social conservatives) so perhaps the need for weblog related media as a viable alternative to established media is not applicable yet. However, the effectiveness of blogs still remains prevalent in informing individuals whose interests lie beyond those regularly reported in established media.
– Russel, A, Ito, M, Richmond, T & Tuters, M 2008, ‘Culture: media convergence and networked culutre’ in K Varnelis (eds) Networked Publics, MA: MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 43-76.
– Drugi Svet 2011, Drugi Svet, Slovenia viewed 9 May 2011, <http://www.drugisvet.com/>