Vaughn Ververs, writing on the CBS Public Eye blog, offers some additional insight into the issue of blogging versus journalism:
Is the blogosphere full of citizen journalists who, with a seemingly limitless supply of bandwidth and resources at their fingertips, are becoming a powerful addition to the mainstream media? Or is it in danger of slipping into the 21st Century version of cable talk shows, where those who can shout their outrage the loudest get the most attention?
Discussion about the blogosphere has long included two topics that generate a tremendous amount of impassioned feelings on all sides. The first is the value of bloggers as journalists. Blogging champions tout the ability of blogs to perform as well, if not better, than traditional news organizations in exploring stories and issues, digging up information and connections and breaking news. Even some of their biggest critics acknowledge at times that bloggers perform valuable services in that area.
The second oft-discussed topic about the blogosphere has been civility, or lack thereof. There are plenty of examples about the issue of civility, enough to make you start thinking that raw discourse is simply part of the whole deal. But could all this unbridled, unchecked and unfiltered anger be having a real impact on the blogosphere as a whole?
There would be plenty of people arguing that the kind of discourse happening on many blogs undermines the actual points bloggers and commenters are trying to make. Iâ€™m not convinced of that. A strong verbalization of deeply-held feelings can often help make an argument. I might cringe at some of the more nasty things written on some blogs, but the real below-the-belt stuff isnâ€™t as common as some may lead you to believe. The real danger, it seems to me, is a perception of blogs as reactions gauges â€“ a perception that appears to be growing.
Again, this begs the question of whether or not blogs are useful sources of information or a means to rapidly spread misinformation.
The jury, I fear, is still out.