Note: for this post, I have decided not link to the blogs of the warring parties. This is so that none of the parties involved believes themselves to be endorsed by this blog. I will only link out to some radio podcasts, as they are interesting (as in the Chinese curse:"may you live in interesting times") conversations on the topic of bloggers/journalists. Overall, I am simply trying to figure out how the blogger/journalist issue breaks down on the geographic local level. I find it sad, discouraging and frightening.end
Normally I don't do much commentary on poltiical issues--and prefere my teapot tempests to be things that are pretty bloody obvious--but this a.m. I tried to unravel the war that's been brewing between NoPornNorthampton, MoPornNorthampton, and several folks over at Masslive.com, and how all this got pulled into some radio broadcasts on the issue of bloggers and jouranlists...
From what I gather, there have been personal attacks from one side to the other. Who started the attacks, I can't really say--it's hard to tell in all the mess and I don't know if posts have been deleted (I know comments have been deleted and persons have been banned) When posts/comments are deleted, the train of thought and consequence can't be clearly delineated.
What I can say is that the rhetoric is super-hot on all sides.
Then again, the idea of a porn shop on King Street does raise an eyebrow or two.
But from what I see, one issue is the nature and purpose of a blog. Are all blogs journalism and should all blogs be held to the same standard? Well, that's as thorny a question as the placing of certain businesses. Blogs are, as has been said by Jay Rosen, little First Amendment Machines.
So, as often happens with the First Amendment, some folks will go overboard, push boundaries, make lots of others unhappy...
And maybe some blogs aren't journalism. Maybe they shouldn't be.
A local radio personality Bill Dwight's produced a few podcasts to bring up the blogger/journalist issue: you can scroll through this site to find them....they're interesting in many respects, as they're bringing something that's taken place mostly in the blogosphere--and perhaps might have been solved in the blogosphere--into the broadcast media realm.
Yet I worry about who's presenting the arguments, and who's controlling the conversation. Where are the conversations about blogging and journalism happening in the W. Mass media landscape--print or broadcast? Are they happening only in pockets where rhetroic--right or left--reigns? Does one side--right, left, activist, citizen, journalist, blogger--have the better understanding of the First Amendment and free speech than another? Is it appropriate to bring a blogospheric argument into broadcast?
I'm listening to the podcasts, and I wonder if any of the guys involved are reading stuff on Poynter.com, if they're reading Jarvis or Rosen or any of the people that are having the larger discussions on the topic of bloggers/journalists. Those national discussions are important to the local discussion.
Another aspect that's a little frightening in these dialogues is that there is nary a woman in the argument. Perhaps a little estrogen in the testosterone contest might help? ;-)
Then again, perhaps the women don't want to be involved. Perhaps they don't want to be steamrolled by the testosterone. I can't blame them, really.
One thing, though, that I've concluded in listening to the podcasts, and having read some of the mess that's going on, is that I don't think there's room for any independent citizen journalism out here in W. Mass. No room for an H2oTown, no room for a WestportNow, no room for The Forum (Deerfield, NH) a The msm outlets--from the main paper, to the alternative paper, and now a radio outlet coupled with, I think, some activists--seem to have created this super-heated atmosphere and struggle for control over who's entitled/qualified/sanctioned to publish online that to steep one's toe in the citizen journalism pool might cause one to get it bit off by a Great White shark.
And that, in its own strange and peer-pressure-y way, feels like a kind of censorship.
Think about it.
Journalism, citizen journalism, media, Blogging, Blog, Blogs