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Contents Foreword Introduction Chapter 1: Are Blogs of Value to the Public? Chapter Preface Yes: Blogs Serve the Public in Ways Conventional Media Do Not Blogs Have the Power to Expose Frauds Hugh Hewitt Bloggers detected and exposed the forgery of documents presented by CBS news anchor Dan Rather as genuine, destroying his credibility. Blogs Give Citizens a Platform Richard A. Posner The blogosphere poses a threat to mainstream media because of the rapidity with which it spread news and, collectively, corrects errors, as well as because it provides what consumers want instead of what professional journalists think they should want. Blogs Keep Watch Over Mainstream Media Daniel W. Drezner and Henry Powell Blogs are influential not only because of their content, but because they provide a focal point for the news and set the agenda for mainstream media coverage. Blogs Provide Firsthand Information About the War in Iraq Nikki Schwab Much information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan comes from soldiers’ military blogs, some of which are shaping public opinion. Blogs Are Changing the Status Quo in China Sarah Schafer and Duncan Hewitt In China, where the press is not free, there are now so many bloggers that the government cannot suppress them; therefore they have become the new mainstream for disseminating information and opinion. No: Blogs Offer Nothing Important to the Public at Large Amateur Journalists’ Blogs Spread Misinformation Andrew Keen Citizen journalists have neither the ability nor the resources to provide reliable news reports, and they are not held accountable for their work. The public is better served by professionals than by amateurs. Most Blogs Reach Only Small, Specialized Audiences Nicholas Lemann The mainstream media were never as monolithically influential as blog enthusiasts believe, and what bloggers are producing does not live up to the claims made for it, besides reaching only relatively small audiences. Blogging Results in Instant Obsolecence Trevor Butterworth Blogs have produced fragmentation of society rather than democracy, and most of what is written in them cannot be taken seriously because there is too much of it, produced too hurriedly. Talented writers need time to create work of enduring significance. Chapter 2: Do Blogs Have Significant Impact on American Politics? Overview: Political Blogging Has Entered the Mainstream Laura Gordon-Murnane Dynamic, exciting blogging is now playing an active role in American politics. Yes: Blogs Have Become Indispensable to Political Campaigns Blogging Is a Major Development in the Future of Politics Biz Stone Bloggers of all political persuasions agree that blogging is a powerful force in politics. It forces professional journalists to follow stories that bloggers will not let lie. Blogs Are a Critical Part of Political Commentary Carla Marinucci Political parties and candidates now understand that blogs will be an important part of the commentary on the next election and that they will influence campaign strategy. The Future Will Not Be Unblogged David D. Perlmutter It is too soon to know whether blogs will affect the outcome of the 2008 election, but they will certainly play a role in public debates and in people’s perceptions of candidates. No: Blogs Do Not Affect the Outcome of Elections Blogs Lack the Depth of Print Journalism George Packer The blogosphere is detached from the real world. Blogs are too fragmentary and too lacking in depth to have political significance. Specific Blogs Reach Only Small Segments of the Population Byron York Even if a million people read a particular blog, they may be the same million whose minds were already made up on the basis of other media—and it takes 60 million to elect a president. Chapter 3: How Are Blogs Affecting American Culture? Overview: The Impact of Blogging Robbie Allen People of all backgrounds, interests, and biases now contribute to the global discourse on human affairs. Blogging Empowers Individuals David Kline Blogs contribute to a democratic society by giving a voice to people who had none in the past. Even those who are not political find meaning and purpose in their personal lives through documenting their experiences. Blogging Has Replaced the Common Culture with Subcultures Terry Teachout Americans were once united by a common culture that no longer exists, now that people tend to read blogs that reflect their own views rather than relying on news from a few major media. Blogs Provide Response to Community Issues Craig Colgan Commenting on blogs maintained by administrators and teachers is a popular and effective way for people to respond to school incidents and other community issues. But some schools are reluctant to use them. Doctors Use Blogs to Help Patients Mitchell L. Cohen Some doctors use blogs to provide information to their patients, and blogging is also being done by patients in support groups. Amateur Detectives Use Blogs to Investigate Crime Laura Bauer People who feel powerless in the face of crime are finding an outlet in keeping up with detailed reports of current crimes posted on blogs. Though many of these reports are inaccurate, bloggers do sometimes uncover information of value to the police. Chapter 4: What Ethical and Legal Issues Are Raised by Blogs? Overview: Bloggers Disagree About a Proposed Code of Conduct Heather Haverstein A code of conduct to promote civility in blogging has been proposed, but some bloggers view it as a restriction on free speech. Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers Ellen Nakashima Some female bloggers have been harassed and threatened so much that they have become afraid to blog. Blogs Are Used for Personal Attacks and Smear Campaigns Daniel Lyons When individuals or businesses are defamed by bloggers their reputations can be permanently destroyed. There is often no way even to determine the identity of the attackers, let alone stop them. Blogging May Lead to a Change in Libel Laws Laura Parker Lawsuits are being brought against bloggers who libel others. The time is coming when they will no longer be considered judgment-proof because they are not rich. Academic Freedom in Faculty Blogs Is Sometimes Questioned Dina M. Horwede Academic freedom does not always extend to blogging, and faculty members have been fired for what they have said in blogs. The constitutional right to free speech bars only suppression by the government, not private employers. Free Speech in Blogs May Be Restricted by Employers Jonathan A. Segal Employers should be careful about attempting to restrict the blogging of employees on their own time. Although in many cases it is legal to do so, it may be unwise. Students Have the Right to Blog Electronic Frontier Foundation Students generally have the right to express their opinions in off-campus blogs, but there are rules that must be followed to avoid trouble with school authorities. Blogs Can Be Used as Evidence in Court Cases Chris W. McCarty Lawyers are not taking advantage of the evidence available in blogs, which can be used in various ways even if it is not directly admissible. There Should Be Rules when Bloggers Are Paid for Endorsement J. D. Lasica Advertising is becoming common in blogs, and the rules are different from those followed by mainstream media. Bloggers who have commercial connections should not call themselves journalists, as journalists never accept money from sources. Bibliography Web Resources Index
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Blogs -- Social aspects -- United States -- Juvenile literature.
Blogs -- Political aspects -- United States -- Juvenile literature.
Online journalism -- United States -- Juvenile literature.
Freedom of speech -- United States -- Juvenile literature.
Blogs -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States -- Juvenile literature.