October 13, 2005
Professor talks war blogging - Kaimin
Professor talks war blogging
Story by Daniel Person/Montana Kaimin 10.11.05
With the recent 9/11 terrorist attack, imminent war and widespread fear
that another terrorist attack was soon to come, journalist Christine
Boese said she was shrouded in uncertainty.
Boese, this year’s Distinguished Pollner professor at the UM School of Journalism, gave a lecture Monday night about blogging and her personal experiences with the Internet phenomenon.
One of the writers for the ticker that scrolled at the bottom of CNN Headline News, Boese was at the front line of breaking news, and what she heard scared her.
When the United States began bombing Afghanistan, she told her friends and family to stay at home, for fear that terrorists would retaliate.
And when the first news of an anthrax attack reached CNN, she said she vomited after work because of the uncertainty of what she might wake up to.The anthrax attack was not widespread, but Boese was determined to stop the uncertainty. So when the Iraq war loomed, she sought to find avenues for information other than the mainstream media, that would likely be influenced by military spin.
“I didn’t know or trust whether or not the military would allow accurate reporting,” Boese said in a lecture she gave Monday night.
Boese had an extensive background in blogging, and as a blogger herself saw it as a way to get the information she needed.
She began managing two blogs by journalists in Iraq. What they sent back was, according to Boese, revolutionary.
Both blogs, one written by Josh Kucera, a freelancer for Time Magazine and the other by Carolina Podesta, an Argentinean journalist, were very successful. At the peak of the war, Podesta’s site got 1,000 hits and her blog has been published in its entirety in Argentina.
But Boese, who continued to work at CNN while managing the blogs, said the blogs and mainstream media have not worked together, but rather clashed like a modern “David and the giant Goliath.”
Because Kucera’s blog was the subject of a Boston Globe article that said it was better than his Time articles, Time made him shut it down.
This was also the fate of Kevin Sites, a CNN reporter who ran a blog until it began getting popular. Sites later moved to MSNBC which was more accommodating to blogging reporters, and has since become a full time blogger on his website The Hot Zone.
But Boese said mainstream media had much to learn from these journalists who write personally and interact with their readers.
“News should be a conversation, not a lecture,” Boese said.
Boese said blogs offer information that would not find its way into the pages of major magazines and newspapers.
“It’s the incidental, off-hand observations that give blogs their power,” she said.
Boese even suggested that blogs may be more accurate than mainstream media outlets.
It is common, she said, for bloggers to tell their readers that they have only a limited scope, a reality that exists for all journalists whether they admit to it or not.
“Bloggers like to pull away the curtain and expose the man, the wizard,” she said. “Blogs are more honest and perhaps more true than I was on the ticker.”
Boese said media outlets stomping out their journalists’ blogs disturbed her, and possibly went against the first amendment.
Also, she said the relationship between blogs and mainstream media need not be one of conflict, but of mutual gains. Bloggers need the information gathered by mainstream journalists, but mainstream journalists in turn can learn much from bloggers.
“A relationship is actually more symbiotic than oppositional,” Boese said.
Boese is the fifth Pollner professor, and teaches a class on blogging in the School of Journalism.
Last Updated ( 10.11.05 )
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Ew, you vomited? Gross.
Posted by: Megabuddy | Dec 18, 2006 8:43:17 PM