Please Put A Blogger On Your Radio Show
The Media Project
WAMC, Northeast Public Radio
318 Central Avenue
Albany, New York 12206
Dear Alan, Ira, Elisa and Rex:
This evening, again, the subject of Blogs came up during your show, the Media Project. And, to nobody's particular surprise, the usual, superficial analysis was quickly dispensed: bloggers are not journalists, blogs have no quality control, blogs are too quick, blogs have no restraints, blogs by anonymous writers are irresponsible, blogs don't gather news, some blogs print "horrible" things. I've come to expect this.
The fact is that there are millions of blogs. For political and cultural analysis these come in two main types: group blogs (e.g., daily Kos in left Blogistan) and individual blogs. Individual blogs, like newspapers, radio, and TV, have enormous variations in intelligence and quality. Some are absolutely brilliant; others, unreadable. But both kinds of blogs are extremely democratic: anybody with access to a computer can be a writer and express an opinion or an analysis or spread a story. Anybody with a comment about a story is free to post it. Yoanni Sanchez, a prizewinning Cuban blogger, uses the computer at the local library. One doesn't need money to be a blogger. Only time and desire. Bloggers who are no good remain unread and eventually give up. Bloggers who have something to say are ultimately recognized and build a readership.
I say all of this because I don't think your show sufficiently acknowledges the importance of blogs, and it's important that you begin to. Newspapers are cutting back and dying, radio and television are consolidating and moving news to entertainment and propaganda. Blogs continue to grow in influence and importance. Simply put, blogs are the important, new medium. In fact, some newspapers and radio stations attempt to put up blogs, to compete, but in general these are just not the same thing as blogs that are supported only by the writers' time, energy, desire and persistence.
Why am I writing all of this? Because "Teh Blogs" deserve a seat on the Media Project. They provide an important viewpoint you ought to be providing your listeners. And nobody can explain blogging and its role in media as well as someone actually involved in it. In fact, only someone who is actively involved in blogging, which seems to involve reading lots of other blogs in addition to writing, can provide insight into what actually happened in the blogosphere in the past week. You'd be surprised to note that events in the blogosphere frequently don't dwell on the same stories as the traditional media.
You don't have to invite me to sit in. There are lots of other people who could do a wonderful job at this. You can pick the blogger of your choice.
Are the blogs powerful enough, important enough to deserve this kind of consideration? A simple demonstration. I won't mail this letter to you. I'll just post it on two small blogs, my own, The Dream Antilles, and my favorite group blog, Docudharma. I'm relatively sure you'll find out about my opinion and the comments of many others through the magic of the blogs.
David Seth Michaels
P.S. I use the name "davidseth" when I blog. Anybody who cares can easily find my full name and where I am. I do this because I stand behind every single word I write.