What am I going to write about? I am not an authority on any specific subject! Those were the first thoughts I had when I learned I had to create and maintain a blog for my Online Journalism class. I had no idea what I wanted to write about or even if I had enough knowledge about a particular subject to discuss it over about five weeks. I finally decided to write about politics since the campaigns were then and are, even more so now, in full swing for the presidential elections in 2008.
As a student of journalism we are all trained to be objective and keep a fair and balanced perspective when we write. So when I began my blog, I found it hard to project strong opinions or even to type sentences starting with "I." After a bit of a slow start, I found my "voice" and settled into the type of posts I felt were relevant to my blog as a whole. As you will see, most of my posts are about the candidates for president in 2008 and what they have been up to. I covered funny, light stories like the Steven Colbert post and also hard news stories such as various polls and what they mean. I really enjoyed the fact I was able to include some of my own photos for stories which I think really adds to the quality of a blog, as it breaks up the text and gives a visual aid for the story. I feel fortunate that through other classes and my part-time job (former Co-op internship) I had access to stories such as my post with the Ben Affleck pictures, and the Roth family from Salem, New Hampshire.
As I continued to blog, I decided the angle I was going to take was through the notion that people, especially in my generation, are more private citizens then public citizens. Many people I have met and interviewed have told me they feel disenfranchised and as a result, have become complacent and apathetic. With that idea in mind, I continued writing and in one post I included an essay in which I looked at that issue through First Amendment glasses.
Overall, my experience was very positive. It forced me into a whole new style of writing and I really learned a lot from it. Also, it made me research alternative online resources to add to my blog. Through that research, I learned about a lot more sources than I would have ordinarily, as I used to rely on the same few websites for my daily news. Finally, my blog also offered a place to post and share my photography and my news video packages I had been working on all semester for a different class.
I am unsure at this point if I will continue blogging, or if I do decide to continue with it, if my blog will look the same as it does now. One thing I do know is blogging is quickly becoming a trend used by media outlets, other professionals and individuals alike. I think this trend will have, and is having, a significant impact on the "traditional" reporting styles. Some examples of this you will see in the links in my blog to sources such as CNN's Political Ticker and other individual reporters' blogs. I think people tend to resist change if they are used to one way of doing things, but with the sweeping changes the Internet has created for the news business and for society as a whole, a shift in how we do things is happening, right in front of our eyes. This is an exciting time to be apart of and one that should not be resisted but looked at as an opportunity to reinvent some of our old ways of doing things.