Blogging News Stories as They Happen

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New new journalism panelistsImage by Nico Macdonald via FlickrBlogging news stories as they unfold is one of the most
exciting and controversial applications of technology
that bloggers have discovered. One thing that makes the
blogosphere so active is the fact that it is possible to
update a blog instantaneously, so the news on blogs
tends to be more current than the news in the paper, or
on television. Unlike news delivered by these other
media, news that appears on blogs does not have to
travel through a series of editors and administrators
before it reaches the public eye.
This has some
advantages, and some distinct disadvantages.

One of the most notable cases of news hitting a blog
before appearing in other media took place in July 2005
when terrorism struck London. As passengers were
evacuated from a subway car near an explosion, one
man took several photographs of the scene with his
cellular phone, and within an hour these images were
posted online. First-person accounts of the catastrophe
began appearing on blogs soon after these photos
appeared, and people all over the world learned about
the events in London by reading the words and seeing
the photos posted by bloggers.

The fact that these stories and images were being spread
directly by individuals operating without the added
filter of a reporter helped to make the crisis feel very
immediate to people across the globe. When it comes to
blogging, news often appears in a very personal context.
This has the potential to be the beginning of an exciting
new era of reporting, one that takes "New Journalism"
to it's logical next step by putting the power to shape
how the news is written and read directly into the hands
of the public.

Many bloggers and cultural commentators who are
champions of the weblog movement feel that this
growing trend of individuals who getting their news
from blogs is a good thing, because it makes the flow of
information more democratic. By decentralizing the
control of news, blogs allow more voices to enter the
field of debate about important current events.
However, many people are adamantly opposed to the
use of blogs as news outlets, and there are plenty of
good arguments on this side of the debate. Unlike
newspapers or television stations, few blogs have fact-
checkers, and there is little attention paid to journalistic
accountability on many blogs. This can lead to the rapid
spread of misinformation, and more than one falsehood
has taken the blogosphere by storm. The questions
about whether blogging news as it happens is ethical or
not are very complicated, but no matter where you stand
on the topic of current events blogs you are almost sure
to agree that this movement has the potential to
revolutionize how modern people get their news.



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