I have found the resistance to bloggers to be an interesting thing. I used to parrot the anti-blogger lines such as “we have no idea who these people are, how can we trust them” or “they are not real journalist, therefore what they say must be nonsense.” I was very wrong. Sure there are some bloggers out there that are really just trolls or something, but there are a lot of bloggers that have very meaningful and well-sourced material. Those are the ones that I would like to focus on.
The blogger is detested by most journalists. Though I doubt they would ever admit it, but I have begun to wonder if the professional journalist really just doesn’t like the freedoms that the blogger enjoys from an editor, a deadline, and a corporate overlord. But to be fair, if you are a journalist, I do acknowledge that there are a lot of bloggers that just blow unfounded smoke and have no credibility. However, that weakness is really the good blogger’s strength in disguise.
Unlike the corporate press, a blogger knows that everyone doubts them. Therefore, in order to create credibility the trustworthy blogger must site their sources deeply. I have found that some of the best information that I have ever come across on any subject has been through bloggers or alternative media because they must cite original documents. This allows people to decide for themselves if the information presented is valid. It gives people a clearer choice.
Corporate media has been in the business so long that I think that most of them don’t even realize that they say “take my word for it” all of the time. This unfortunate ignorance in presentation actually makes them a less credible source. On occasion it can be down right circular reasoning. The major news sites and television news cite themselves. An example that I have heard is “remember when we reported a few weeks back on this issue?” In most cases that is the extent of the sourcing. It is one of the reasons that I do not put as much trust in their information.
Also, there is one other thing about a blogger or alternative news cite that sets them apart from corporate media, they are not dependent on other large corporations for advertising revenue. An example of the conflict they often face by having large corporate sponsors is what if one of those large sponsors is doing bad business, if the news organization is dependent on the money they receive from the large sponsor, how will their leadership handle the loss of revenue if the news outlet reports on the corruption of said sponsor?
This kind of thing also has to be looked for in a blogger as well. So be aware. Some bloggers do sell advertising stories that look like reporting, but really are not. Often they will note it though, but test their sources and make them prove themselves. Criticism makes the good blogger great. Go for it. If they improve, you may have better information available, if they do not… you get the idea.
Basically, a blogger and an alternative news site are more likely to post a link to the origin of their info, but just like the main stream sources of news do not be completely dependent on them to do this. Look it up and be willing to entertain both sides of the argument. We all have biases, but do your best to leave it at the door and seek out the truth in love always and always resist calling others fools lest you become one yourself.