Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Blog, My Opinion

Local forum posters have been lambasting another community blogger for voicing his opinions in his blog, which is hosted by a local daily newspaper. These posters erroneously seem to believe that bloggers should check their lives at the door, when, in fact, personal perspective is the point of a blog.

Blogs are not designed to be online impartial news sources, even if a media company sponsors them. It would be more accurate to think of bloggers as Op-Ed columnists than journalistically neutral news writers although a good journalist can be both a news writer and a columnist, winnowing out personal biases when writing a news story and, when appropriate, still contributing their opinions to one or the other side of a good debate.

News writing and opinion writing are two different genres with different styles. In fact, an editor has recently pointed out to me that blogging has its own style that can be hard for traditional writers to develop.

The complaining posters also feel that they have been denied an opportunity to voice their opposing opinions, but they haven’t. There is a comments section located at the end of each blog post to be used at the option of the blogger and the blogger they are criticizing has chosen to allow comments. He even reads them.

And that’s my opinion.

“A blog is a little first amendment machine.” - Blogger Jay Rosen, June 5, 2007.

“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” - Lesley Gore, 1963


Val said...

Thanks for clarifying this for all of us, Hughes. I will make sure to direct that poster's attention to this particular blog entry. Coming from you, the message carries a great deal of credibility.

Maybe one day, I'll blog. And blog. And likely bore ....

Greg Gillette said...

First of all - I'd like to say WOW! Hughes AP, you have really turned it on this month. That's a lot of writing!

In my Hillsborough blog, I actually have tried to be fair with my comments. But I said early on that I wasn't going to just repeat what you can read for yourself in the newspaper. The only thing that was going to make the exercise worthwhile was to give my opinions on the topics.

This is what the blog is supposed to be. News and opinion - and WHATEVER! Not just the three paragraph news story that Pamela Sroka can write with her eyes closed and both feet tied behind her back!

I remember well how I was pilloried for only writing supposed "fluff" stories about Hillsborough's parks - never mind that I tried to put an actual STORY into every one of those pieces. Now I am beat up for expressing my (mild) opinions about the Hillsborough Charter Study. This was the biggest news story in Hillsborough this year, and it would have been obscene for me not to have an opinion on it.

Readers will take note that I have never accused anyone of illegal activity, implied that anyone had a "hidden agenda", or otherwise denigrated those whose opinions did mot match mine.

If the most awful thing I have written is "No Soup For You", I can live well with that - and sleep well too.

Kay Dennison said...

Well said but you forgot one thing: the blog author has the right to disallow (what he/she considers inappropriate comments or links.