For those bloggers who write about subjects from A to Z, the question of being taken seriously has evolved over the last decade as the use of various social media tools has evolved.
I’ve read an article, on the website Social Media Today that, while it’s focus is more on covering the news of the day and politics, still is worth a pet bloggers time to read.
Not all pet bloggers write about news, events, and issues related to pets but Chris Measures says there are “three key reasons that we should be wary about what citizen journalists write, publish and upload.”
Sharing videos and photos taken with cameras and cell phones allows even pet bloggers to report a story on their blog before the local newspaper, or TV news, covers it.
(This post originally written on 5/8/13 - See introduction)
Mr. Measures writes that “bias is evident in anything we say, write or do – whether we know it or not.” He claims that journalists are better trained to keep bias out of their reporting than you or me, thus making the work of citizen journalists often unreliable.
I beg to differ on that, often finding citizen journalists, and non-mainstream media outlets covering stories no-one else does; and covering those that the MSM cover in ways they do not, to the benefit of everyone.
As a bike blogger (2003-10) and pet blogger whose blogging has often been of a journalistic bent over my decade of blogging I know of writers in both genres, including myself, who have done legitimate reporting on stories ignored, or not well-covered, by our so-called betters.
He next writes about how laws of libel apply equally to the internet and how “professional journalists are trained to understand libel law and what can and can’t be said”, and that citizen journalists need to be better policed.
There is no doubt being more knowledgeable is beneficial to a citizen journalist, regardless of genre, but to imply that the professionals are all-wise in this regard is not true by a long shot.
His discussion of the issue of copyright is something to take serious:
He writes that “lots of news sites now actively encourage you to upload your pictures, video and text to give added perspective on news and features.” If you are going to do that it is important to understand that while you may still own the copyright on your material there are still things the big boys can legally do with your submission.
I agree with his overall point that “citizen journalists need to understand their own responsibilities when it comes to bias, the law and copyright and act accordingly”, I just wish more of the professionals did the same.