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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Blogs: Citizen Journalism at its best

Subhash Agrawal writes about the Blog revolution in India and abroad. Like most other MSM articles, this piece also fails to give the URL’s of the blogs mentioned in the article.
In India, this trend is yet to arrive in the huge way it has abroad. This is all the more surprising since blogs seem a perfect companion for a society that is both argumentative and politically alive. Though there are a few good blogs doing the round, like The Acorn, Sepia Mutiny and GreatBong, most active ones are run by computer or management graduates for discussing job opportunities. But things are changing, and recently a self-acclaimed professor of management was unmasked as a fraud, thanks to incessant blog inputs by his students.

What lies in the future, and how does it impact us here? First, blogs will eventually force mainstream media, even in India, to pay attention if not homage. Neither will replace the other, but big media will have to relearn a few essentials, especially about honesty. Steve Outing, from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, commented in a recent article, “one significant difference between mainstream journalism and blogging is the way each handles its mistakes.. (bloggers) prominently post corrections to errors, publishing them quickly.” In comparison, mainstream media seldom, if ever, acknowledges its faults.

Second, the world of political and social blogs, at least in the US or in major Asian and European countries, is already very professional, and this presents Indian thinkers and policymakers an alternate entry point for studying local trends in various parts of the world, perhaps even another way to actively garner intellectual support for Indian positions on diplomatic issues.

Overall, blogs are an exciting new genre, best described as ‘citizen journalism’, that can enlarge public debates beyond the elite, act as a media watchdog and generally create a culture of critical thought. Maybe not the best thing since sliced bread, but a pretty nifty invention nevertheless. And we can all own a piece of it.


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