Mabel, pack up the kids. We’re outta here.
Okay, not really. But this was nonetheless my first reaction when I picked up the USA Today left on my hotel room doorstep this morning.
Right on the first page, below the fold, is the following headline and subhead:
FREEWHEELING ‘BLOGGERS’ ARE REWRITING RULES OF JOURNALISM
Objectivity? Not here — and the masses eat it up
Why am I so unnerved by the discovery of blogging by USA Today? Why does it seem so much like a harbinger of doom for the form? Undoubtedly there’s some elitism not-so-buried in my response, some vision of the AOL-ification of blogging, but it feels like there’s something more than that, too. Something that has to do with the annoying interpretations of blogging that the article puts forward.
Bloggers get their name from Web logs, a new form of publication on the internet. A blog is a cross between an online diary and a cybermagazine, aggressively updated to draw readers back. Just a few years ago, blogs were relatively rare. Now there are millions. They’re devoted to every topic imaginable, from knitting to dating to homelessness. But those who have had the most impact write about politics.
Is it true that those bloggers who write about politics “have had the most impact,” or is it simply that politics captures the mainstream media’s attention in a way that little other subject matter does? I also have to wonder where on the “knitting to dating to homelessness” scale this site falls. Are blogs of necessity either about politics or about silly personal matters?
As for the updating of this site — well, I’m leaving San Diego today, headed back for a couple of weeks of quiet in Claremont before the start of the spring semester, so I’ll hope to be posting more aggressively(?) in the coming days.