Blogging and Journalism

I have a friend who was a reporter for our local newspaper for years. She told me the hardest part of writing for any news service was eliminating her own biases from her pieces. She has recently moved on to a new career in the criminal justice field and says that her journalism training has helped her because she has learned to detach herself from the material she is investigating and hold her own personal biases in check. I am an amateur blogger and I don’t have that ability. When I write I strive to not put my personal slant on things but I don’t really succeed.

I don’t believe that all bloggers who blog news are journalists and I also don’t believe all those that are labeled journalists are in fact reporting without bias. While it is true that bloggers have broken and carried many a news story in the last few years and changed the course of many a life and election, it is also true that a lot of them are not coming from a position of sharing the news but from their own personal biases. Most bloggers are not trained journalists. I think that it is important to have some accountability when you are reporting on stories that can effect peoples lives. It was amateurs that plastered Ryan Lanza’s face all over Facebook-but the mainstream media let his name loose first. Turns out it was his brother who took the lives of all those children. Are the bloggers going to be sued by Lanza or are the journalists?

I can’t debate good or bad(even though my guy lost the last election). Journalists have some accountability for their stories (in most cases, anyway). I also think that having credentials as a journalist can protect the journalist as well. The same can’t be said about most well meaning ( and not so well meaning)  bloggers. While allowing bloggers access to interview who they want and events they wish access too is not all bad, I can’t see how everyone could receive protection under the shield laws. That is a lot of shielding!

I think some sort of laws need to be passed in response to the mass of bloggers dabbling in the news world. As much of a legal nightmare as it would prove to be, I think such things would need to be decided on either a case to case basis, or maybe allow for a permit of some kind. I don’t even begin to understand all the ins and outs. A blanket statement would not serve anyone well.


Final Thoughts on Shirky


How would you rate this book on a scale from 1-5, with 1 being “horrible!” and 5 being “amazing!” ?
What are the three most important things you learned from (or read about in) _Cognitive Surplus_? 
What are three things you disagree with?
Would you recommend this book to people interested in technology and culture? Why or why not?


I didn’t think that I would like this book. I am not much for non-fiction, when I read it is to escape my world. I was really surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I am supposed to write the three most important things I learned through this book-but my favorite parts of this book are all the history involved in it. The coming of the printing press could be likened to the beginning of our computer age. The beginnings of the scientific method and its effect on modern-day science even today-these things sparked my interest in reading the rest of the book. I give the book a 4, only because I spent a bit of time confused each chapter…until I sat and digested the book a bit.

I didn’t find my self disagreeing with the book much at all. I still want a professional to do my brain surgery-and given the choice I will pick encyclopedia Britannica over Wikipedia any day, lol. I will, of course, research my little brains out in the mean time. I most likely would try to see multiple medical professionals over internet research. A mind is a terrible thing to waste!

I would recommend this book to people though, and not just to those into tech and culture. I think people in business could use it as well. It has really good insights into people as a whole. It is really well written and clear. Usually books on technology read like stereo instructions written in Japanese-I don’t get them. I also think that this book would be a good one for high school history classes to tackle. It is short and gives a lot of real world effects for historical actions. It is even laugh out loud funny in some spots.

Chapter 5 post

How does the Haifa day-care experiment relate to the actions of– and on– the web? 

Are you part of any “sharing cultures” that are facilitated by– or even exist completely on– the web?
What are the problems Shirky proposes, whether you agree with him or not, with the “brain surgery” argument?

In regards to the experiment-I immediately, without reading the whole page, knew what the outcome would be. I have done exactly what those parents did. Once I had to pay late fees I thought that the extra 20 dollars for the day was worth the chance to have a half an hour to run to the store without kids. I am not real proud of myself, but it is the truth. The adding of the fee was like an ok to take advantage-after all they got paid. This book sure has made me rethink some things, lol. I am not too sure of its relation to actions on the “web” other that it seems like it is a whole lot easier to be bold about any given subject and to clash with others online where you are pretty anonymous. If I put it in the context of cost, clarity and community though it makes a bit more sense to me. When the parents had to pay for lateness (cost) the caregivers role changed (community).

I loved the section of the chapter about the Invisible College. I don’t believe it is stated in the chapter outright-but I think he was talking about the birth of the scientific method, which is truly interesting.

I am part of a few sharing cultures that are totally online. I mentioned them in the previous posts.

I am not sure that I am in agreement with Shirky on the brain surgery argument. While I certainly won’t be engaging a prostitute any time soon, I still trust professionals over amateurs most times. Are all professionals worth their salt, no, but most amateurs are just that. The idea that sometimes having someone do something for you as an amateur is better than having done by a professional works in some areas (like personal life), but I still wouldn’t want an amateur operating on my brain.

Chapter 4 Blog

 I would like to add a couple of things that I forgot to add to chapter 3’s Motive post. I enjoy putting myself out there. I especially enjoy writing-though I don’t do so much now. I am a bit of a comedian and my sense of humor can be a bit raunchy (see my facebook notes lol)-but I am one of those people that will throw up if I have to do public speaking of any type. The fact that I would probably rather have my teeth ripped out and salt packed in the wounds then to speak in public is going to make next semesters Oral Communication class really trying! So part of my motivation is to get out there a bit, without actually getting out there.

Chapter 4:
I have to comment on theory-induced blindness! I have been saying this for years and didn’t know it had a name! People do this all the time! Religious leaders like the one I blogged about in India and people like the ones who are spewing hate (Westbourough comes to mind) all exhibit this behaivor. I also have to admit that I no longer remember most of my friends phone numbers without my phone-but I can still remember my first husbands social security number and we haven’t been married in nearly 20 years.
A big motivation, in my opinion, is that we are such an “instant gratification” society. Communication via social networks or email can be much quicker than the regular postal system. That is a powerful draw. You don’t have to wait a week to hear back from a friend. It never really occurred to me to wonder why people spend time on things like email or twitter for that reason. The time that we used to spend writing letters and going to the post office is email and twitter time now.
I agree with Shirky about the real difference between generations. My grandparent’s generation lived through the great depression-they were the definition of a society that learned to live with less. My parents were baby boomers and they had the boom after the war to produce me-the generation of gimme! (Ha Ha) We had more so we did less. I am in a unique position to have children born far apart. My older kids are in their early 20’s and my younger two are under 10. My older kids are totally different in their motivations to do things-they have little in the way of patience. My younger kids are all about NOW. It is very apparent that having more to choose from (so to speak) is a deciding factor in how a generation behaves. Also, I was an 18 year-old single mom with my first child and I was living hand to mouth for the most part. My oldest daughter is far more frugal and patient than my younger kids who have their father and mom at home and a stable home. My younger kids have never gone hungry, never been evicted from their home and never had to deal with the evil stepfather. Their personalities are far different then my older two who have experienced all that and more.


Chapter 3 Blog

There are many communities on the net that have been built around a shared interest, whether that interest be in a person (such as the Grobanites) or a work or kind of art (such as fan fiction sites), or some kind of entertainment (witness still very active communities built around long-cancelled television shows like Lost and Star Trek). Are you part of– or have you been close to anyone who has been part of– any such communities? What were your/their motives? How do these relate to the motives explored by Shirky, such as feedback loops and intrinsic motivation?

I sat down and thought about this prompt and I am really embarrassed by what I have to say next.
My name is Bobbie and I am an addict. I am addicted to all things Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. I belong to a few sites concerning the game and I am responsible for spreading the addiction to others. In fact I am a pusher, I have transferred my addiction to my kids and friends. I also lobbied for both Farscape and Firefly to stay on tv as well as The Dresden files (hence my addiction to Jim Butcher). I check into the Tolkien sites and I check in with my friends on my FAVORITE bands site ( I 
That being said I am also part of the Laurell K Hamilton fan club, as well as JR Ward, Jim Butcher and a few other authors. Our community is very active in all these groups. My motives? Boredom. There, I said it. I am a mom of 4 with two under 10 at home and one is special needs. I escape into these communities and games as a way of trying to talk to adults. I need to talk to someone who is as nerdy as I am. Thanks to this class I found the Dr. Who group…yay! lol. I don’t always have time to visit all of them, but I do enjoy them. 
I think all of us on these sites are there because we LOVE our little addictions. I guess that would be the intrinsic motivation! I enjoy talking to people who know who Bob is and why Harry Dresden is the greatest character EVER! I love telling people about my fave characters and having them tell me about theirs. That feedback is so much fun!   


About Talking Points

  • The general subject/idea of the blog. Is it politics? Journalism? Media?
  • The political slant of the blog (if you can detect one).  Right? Left? Moderate? Libertarian? Rastafarian? Communist?
  • Does the blog cite sources for their information?
  • How would you compare the information in the blog to your local newspaper?
  • What you didn’t like
  • Include a link to a particular post (or more) you felt was particularly interesting, funny, moving, angering, poorly written, well written, biased, or informativtal



Talking Points Memo is both a journalism blog and a political blog that is slanted left. In fact it is pretty much the polar opposite of Moonbattery. While the quality of the writing and reporting is better, I don’t really lean that direction politically. As a result I couldn’t just find a couple of articles that ticked me off…most did. I am not the most political of people but my leanings are far more conservative then liberal. I didn’t like the way the site paints most conservatives as gun toting bible thumpers (just my opinion).

I can’t fault the quality of writing though. The gentleman that started the site is a journalist and a historian (according to his wikipedia page:


Here is a link to a recent article that ticked me off.


About Moonbattery!

The general subject of is political. The political slant is toward the right..wayyyyy right. The blog sites news sources for its information ( for the most part). It is not as well written as some, but because I agree with a lot of the ideas, I can overlook it. The blog is heavily slanted and most of the “reporting” is as well. My local paper wouldn’t handle many of these stories in the same way-which is why I don’t read much from newspapers. I didn’t like some of the language used.

I have blogged about three stories from the site. I had three earlier ones, but I felt that they were outdated at this point so I did three new ones.