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It's a Spitball! It's a Filter!

BY Jed Miller | Tuesday, October 26 2004

E&P online edtor Jesse Oxfeld wrote a sensible analysis this week of a panel discussion called "Blog the Vote" sponsored by the Allentown Morning Call.

There's a real concern that blogs are taking away readers, damaging journalism, and -- this might be the scariest part -- providing instantaneous fact checking on whatever newspapers write. ... [but] contrary to some worries, blogs and newspapers aren't competitive media. In fact, they're entirely complementary.

Panelist Wonkette said bloggers "throw spitballs from the back of the class," while Kos said he considers himself "a media filter." And there you have it: That range reflects the transitional status of blogging.

My one complaint about Oxfeld's report is that it's too steeped in the drama of Old vs. New. It's a report about a tension, not an outright war, but I still think we need to shed the tug-of-war thinking altogether and see this moment for what it is: a transition.

Maybe I'm oversensitive after all the is-not/is-too-ism of the political season, but it seems to me that sober assessments like Jack Rosenthal's pinch-hit in NYT's public editor column serve much more purpose than stories like the recent NYT Magazine piece, which was squarely in the blogs-as-circus camp, for all its good points.

If bloggers and blog-watchers are going to promote the fact that collaborative media adds nuance and memory to the public discourse, we can't frame the argument in the oversimplified terms that are now the stock-and-trade of the decaying traditional media stronghold.

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New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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