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Why blogging is a force of good in journalism.

Well it looks like blogs are here to stay.

So what are journalists to do?

Embrace the enemy? Act like we don’t see the giant pink elephant standing in the room? Or cower in fear for our jobs, newspapers and that delicious flow of money from advertisers?

I’m sure all of these options have been discussed in length in the boardrooms of traditional media outlets over the past few years (especially the cower in fear bit). But now we have finally progressed to the point where we can see some good in all of this too.

Traditional journalism has been dominated by a select few who get to choose what you and I read as news. Blogs, and interactive journalism as a whole, have blown this model out of the water.

Now it’s you and I who get to decide what is read (and published too).

Wikipedia (the holy grail of information to college students across the nation), has started a project that combines the blog and established news formats known as Wikinews. The idea is to have a free source of information that puts the reader in control of the content.

Wikinews allows web-surfers to write about what they feel is important and publish it on a recognizable format. And, literally anyone can have his or her work published too.

So why is something like this good for journalism, you ask?

There is something called the “long tail” theory that was popularized by Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief and writer for Wired Magazine. Basically it states that people are interested in more than just the mainstream material that is published and the new media model has provided a means for individuals to explore their own niches. Read more about it on Anderson’s blog.

The long tail encompasses everything from music to recipes, and of course, journalism too. Blogs give the reader the ability to explore and discover things they care about. When all is said and done, there is more relevant (and yes, sometimes irrelevant) information to more people. Isn’t that what journalism is all about?

So maybe blogging doesn’t solve the money vacuum that traditional journalism has been struggling with but it is brimming with the spirit that journalism is (or should be) based on.

I would also argue that blogs, as a whole, are more reliable than we think. Yes, we do have to sift through the junk-blogs that are published in the alleys of the internet, but there are also a lot of legitimate journalists out there typing away as well.

This info came from a five-part series that Technorati published about the current condition of the blogosphere. There is a lot of other interesting info on Brian Solis’ blog post about the demise of blogs.

So, give it some thought. Blogs are here to stay whether we like it or not and they provide a large group of people with a staggering amount of information. Are they good, bad or somewhere in between?

The beautiful thing about it is that the reader is the one who ultimately gets to decide.

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