Bloggers Hold The Future of The Fourth Estate

Yes, I am going to kiss ass a little today. I’m also going to be a little vain. Not very vain, though, because while I am a blogger I’m not blogging about news.

You know what site does blog about the news? Buzzfeed. Recently they did a great series of photos where they asked Trump and Sanders supporters what questions they would ask of each other. I really enjoyed the post, and here’s a link so that you can enjoy it too. But what struck me is this; while Buzzfeed does have a very strong liberal slant, the Trump supporters were not made out to be ignorant or hateful. Some of their signs were misspelled, but so were some of the Sanders supporters signs. It showed the best possible examples, instead of showing highly intelligent Sanders supporters and moronic Trump supporters.

And this was Buzzfeed! Their other big accomplishment this month was blowing up a watermelon with rubber bands. Here’s a link to that, too. While I love Buzzfeed, they sure didn’t start out as someone you’d consider a reputable news source. But they kind of are now, and they’re not the only ones.

Here are just a few of the reasons why I think we, as bloggers, should embrace this.

We aren’t bound by advertisers, for the most part

Actually, a lot of blogs do have ads. And some bloggers do sponsored posts. But we also tell you beforehand, “Hey, I got paid for this.” And most of us aren’t making so much money from an advertiser that we’ll cry a river if they leave us. So if an ad partner doesn’t like something we’ve written, that’s sad and all. But we don’t really mind.

We aren’t getting paid

The vast majority of us, anyway, are making no money from blogging. Many blogs that do make money don’t make enough to be a sole source of income. And even the bloggers that do blog full time are usually also producing products like e-books and educational courses.

Since our blogs aren’t money driven, we’re free to be honest. If I tell you about something in the news, my only motivation is that I want you to know. I might want you to feel a certain way about it, because it’s the way I feel, but mostly I just want you to have the information.

We are able to say, ‘this is my own opinion.’

This is a big one. Outside of editorialists, journalists aren’t supposed to outright say, “This is how I feel about this thing.” They’re supposed to tell you the who, what, where, when, why and how. Bloggers are free to say, “This happened, and I think it’s great.” Or, “This is going on right now, and we need to damn well do something about it.”

By expressing our opinions, we are being totally honest with our readers. If I tell you that I support Bernie Sanders, then you will read what I have to say understanding that I have an honest bias. You’ll weigh my words differently, as you should. Everyone has a bias, after all. Mine, and most other bloggers, are just honest.

People already understand that we’re not professionals, so they’re more willing to look into what we tell them.

And boy do people love to tell bloggers they’re wrong. Read comment sections if you don’t believe me. (Not so much mine, though. All of you have been nothing but sweet and supportive in your comments, and thank you for that.) But if you read a blog post about something, you’re more likely to say, “Prove it.”

My husband and I play a game with this. “Source, or it didn’t happen.” This means that if one of us finds some outlandish story online, we have to find at least two other sources of information that tell the same thing, or we don’t believe it really happened. Or one of us will say, “Did you read that off someone’s blog?”

No deadlines

As much as I might admire the productivity of a journalist, constant deadlines can lead to sloppy work. Not all the time, but sometimes. Bloggers don’t have that restriction. You know I attempt to publish three to four times a week, getting my posts up by six in the morning. But sometimes it doesn’t happen, and they go up late. No great loss, they’re still up there. If I feel like a piece needs more work, I’ll give it that time. This is a luxury we have, not being beholden to anyone. We’ve got all the time we need to get the story right.


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