In a recent interview with blogger Tony Pierce as he moves positions from LAist to LA Times, I noticed that he gave a good amount of props to traditional newspapers/journalists, commenting that “they have the best writers, they are the ones actually gathering news, and they have the best photographers, and the tightest infrastructure. They’re doomed for success as long as they stop fighting the inevitable.” I couldn’t agree more. Reputable journalists are, for the most part, trained to dig up info, research stories and give us the best of their findings, biased or not. It’s the facts.
Which leads to the question of which is better? I used to disregard bloggers (this was some time ago, as I now have two of them!), chocking them up to people who just wanted to vent and throw out unsubstantiated claims. That was pretty naïve on my part. But we’ll go ahead and chock that up to inexperience and elitism… a common occurrence for someone in their early twenties who had degrees in History and Political Science.
Moving ahead, it started to become common that, while searching for info in graduate school, blogs were among Google’s first finds. So I started reading them…. with a grain of salt of course. And back to the issue of biases, yeah, blogs are full of them. They’re mostly opinion of facts.
So we end up with facts versus opinions. And again, which is better? Well, I’m proud to say my views have changed and I consider both better. I’ll always read a newspaper or magazine for a set purpose, harvesting for facts and information on what’s happening today, being aware of biases, and trying to par it down to data. That’s fine. And because of my training, I look at as many sides of the issue that I can (yes, I’m Middle-of-the-Road on politics).
But this is where blogs come in with an attribute that forces this process on people who wouldn’t otherwise go through it. Because of the vast amount of information online, it’s close to impossible to do a search on a particular topic without finding a blog or a blogesque quality to it. Even the big newspapers online have comments offered by bloggers (or just plain commenters).
The opinions are out there, and in your face. And it’s great. You almost can’t avoid reading an opinion contrasting your own views, and that’s what needs to be happening. One of the biggest downfalls I see in people is being unflinchingly dogmatic.
So slowly, the blogging world is chipping away at this. And I say keep it up.