What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

If You Are Paid to Blog...

Sorry, spent most of the week in St Louis without access to the internet for the most part and so have been awol for a while out here.

I posted several weeks ago a comment buried in a post that has gotton quite a bit of attention nationwide. I feel as if it's important to elaborate on the comment due to the number of blogs that decided it was an important point to discuss and I'd like to invite a discussion here on the topic.

It came in the midst of a controversy here in Wisconsin over a political blogger's summit that is scheduled for tomorrow in Milwaukee. This controversy was really about whether or not the organization sponsoring the event was really capturing the voices of the blogosphere in Wisconsin or just providing another event for the media to blow it's horn. The vast majority of the "bloggers" on the panels are high profile members of the Milwaukee media and I began thinking about the difference between them and those of us who got a free blog and started typing. This is the comment that has started the debate on a nationwide scale.

I'm going out on a limb here to make a statement that's going to be controversial.

If you are a paid member of the traditional media (radio, newspaper, television, magazines, even traditional internet websites, etc...), you are NOT a blogger. You may very well post your compensated for material and opinions designed to draw advertising dollars on a blog page to increase traffic for your employer's website, but you are NOT a blogger.

As many of you who read my posts often know, I don't get paid to do this, and I often write free stream of consciousness, and so rarely even edit my own work. Occasionally I'll catch a typo, but that's it, this is raw footage plain and simple.

I am interested that so many have linked to and written about this comment. None of them have been people who fall into the category of "non-bloggers" as I describe above. Most seem absolutely interested in the discussion, but offer no opinion either way as to how they actually feel about the subject.

The jist of what I was trying to point out is that the majority of the media no longer operates on a truly free speech doctrine. It's so tied up in the advertising dollars and editorial limits of commercial speech, that our country has made mistakes as large as the Iraq War due to the limits of what commercial media is willing to report to us.

The true beauty of the blogosphere is that people who are actually living lives as opposed to running around trying to find those stories now have an outlet to express themselves worldwide and publicly without fear of losing an income, without fear of an editor's knife and without fear of an advertiser's ire.

This is truly the most open free speech zone in the world and god bless Blogger.com and others who have made use of it free for everyone who has a computer.

I don't mean to necessarily disparage the reporters and opinion writers who make a living in the business of media. I just feel that they don't represent the heart and soul of the blogosphere. I will be attending the Summit tomorrow, listening, and asking questions and I'll report back what I learn from this summit.

In the meantime, post back to me and let me know what your thoughts are on this!


Peter said...

Great call - you're totally right on.

One of the best parts about the blogosphere, especially as per the political blogosphere, is that the content is user-based and user-generated. Real people do the thing, and the participatory element of the medium is often the most important message.

KickTime said...

I think you are completely correct and we need to draw a line. When there is money in the game the message changes, can be affected, can be distorted. This is what makes blogs a-something-different than journalism and not a-something-less. I am often aggravated by the lack of participation on our community blog, but once we start paying people it will change into what we have aplenty. If we stay with it grassroots volunteer blogging will catch, and as it catches we will prevail as the something-different that is necessary to maintain a democratic society that has been all but bought from politicos to journalists.