The Secret About Blogs

The Secret About Blogs

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Facebook, minding your own business, when a title catches your eye? “This New Discovery Will Change The Way You Think About Cocaine Forever!” And then you read the article, and you say to yourself, “Wow, I totally see cocaine in a new light.” Then you step back and remember that cocaine is definitely bad. But for a few, tantalizing moments, the writer had you really thinking that maybe cocaine wasn’t as bad as you thought. See, words have power. But with great power comes great responsibility. A good writer can make you see things from their perspective, even if their perspective is totally whack.

Remember when Aragorn led an army of men from Gondor and Rohan to the Black Gate of Mordor? His people were scared. Some of them had ill feelings towards one another. But that speech tho. In about two and a half glorious minutes, he replaced fear with faith, turned cowards to killers, and gave millions of us viewers the chills.

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Bloggers work the same way. They play on our emotions. If they can fire you up about something, you’ll consume more of their product—AKA, read more of their articles, watch more of their videos, etc. But they’re at war with an ever increasing amount of competitors. Enter, Iterative Journalism: the practice of posting stories as soon as they are made available, with or without checking for accuracy.

For a blogger, “the pressure to ‘get something up’ is inherently at odds with the desire to ‘get things right’” (Holiday, 2012, p. 168). They’re looking for a catchy topic that will attract viewers, and they’re looking to get it out there before everyone else. Unfortunately, that means they’re not so worried about getting things right.

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Many of these blogs (Gawker, National Enquirer, Newsroom, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, etc.) have become the main source of news for the world’s online audience. What happens when our news is more focused on speed of delivery than accuracy? Ultimately, it becomes the responsibility of the reader, rather than the blogger, to check the sources and determine truth and validity.

True, some bloggers are just trying to fill the world with uplifting, inspiring messages, or are simply out to put a smile on our faces. But we would be wise to take a step back every once in a while and think about what we’re reading. Don’t get caught believing things that aren’t true. It might be dangerous.

-Your Friendly Neighbourhood Blogger (Hyrum Sutton)

Sources:

Aragorn Meme [Image]. ND. Retrieved from http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/55/55d9ea5ce6dcbff1c3790378997ce1b8b803a977305d30a3517a40562cf7cc1b.jpg

Blog [Image]. ND. Retrieved from http://www.theblogstarter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/4.jpg

Holiday, R. (2013). Trust me, I’m lying: Confessions of a media manipulator. New York: Penguin Group

National Enquirer [Image]. (September 12, 2016). Retrieved from http://static.mtonews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/08/Michelle_Gain_Weight2.jpg

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7 thoughts on “The Secret About Blogs

  1. Gawker, National Enquirer, Buzzfeed, and Entertainment Weekly might be popular, but I don’t know if I’d call them news sources. You’re right in saying that blogging news sites are focusing more and more on getting the news out first rather than guaranteeing that they are correct.

    When the news of Prentice’s death broke, the news site iPolitic was the first in the country to post the story. I noticed that they included a subtle disclaimer that they were waiting on confirmation that the story was true, but they were quite confidant in the rest of their article. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not until CBC posted their own version of the story 20 minutes later with the proper sources listed.

    I actually reached out and contacted the reporter who wrote that story and asked her (nicely) how she justifies posting news like that before solid proof surfaces. She told me that they were about 80% sure that their facts when they posted it, but for a smaller media outlet like themselves to compete with something like CBC, they have to take a few risks on the facts. Their click rate essentially relies on being able to break that story first. Lucky for them, they’re competent enough journalists to be right most of the time, and they do list those disclaimers. But I guess the same can’t be said for all blogs.

    I appreciate how hard small blogs work in getting those stories out first, but personally, I’ll always be returning to the most established media sources for confirmation of facts.

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  2. Problem is, how many people actually wait for an official new release? These blogs aren’t actual news sources, but more and more people treat them as such. How many times has Justin Bieber died in the media? Most of the time they’re still pretty accurate, but sometimes they’re completely wrong. Like National Enquirer reporting that Michelle Obama was 257 lbs. That’s obviously not true.

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    1. Somethings will never change. The Enquirer has been pulling the same stuff forever and way longer than social media has been around. How do they do it?!?!?! It’s like some kinda freaky alien media stuff….

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  3. I agree with this article completely. Too many people are relying on blogs for their news without even thinking about how many shortcuts they take to produce said “news”.

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