Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blogs vs Factual reporting

There appears to be a number of interesting debates going on with many media heavyweights across the globe including the BBC regarding the use of new technology in reporting. Notably twitter and other micoblogging services. The issues are two-fold - one is whether or not journalists and media houses should even be entertaining these unverified information sources such as twitter. The second is the involvement of journalists in creating and maintaining their own blogs leading to dilution of true news reporting.

Many commentators believe these journalist blogs such as BBC editor blogs and the South African Main & Guardian ThoughtLeader blogs hosted under the banner of media houses taints factual reporting with opinion. These commentators claim journalists spend too much time spicing up the content and not enough time penning the cold, hard facts. This, claim some critics is not the role of news agencies whose sole purpose should be to report facts.

I, for one as a journalist, believe that todays readers are considerably more sophisticated than those of the pre-Internet era. Provided twitter-type information sources are clearly labelled as unverified and journalist blogs offer comments based on the reported facts, readers will be better off. Critics of new technology should confine their criticism on how the technology is used effectively to promote communication of both news and opinion. It is not their place to determine what the public reader is capable of understanding and interpreting.

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