Blogging: For When Sex with Inflatable Rafts Isn’t Front Page Worthy

I firmly believe that blogging has a negative impact on the news by watering down what is actually newsworthy, filling space with what isn’t, and blurring the lines between political commentary and political news. They say pictures are worth a thousand words. So instead of just telling you how I feel, I decided to show you what CBS News‘ four main blogs, Political Hotsheet, Crimesider, HealthPop, and Investigates, are showing on their home pages.

First up is Political Hotsheet. In class we discussed the potential for blogging to act as a supplement to news related content. I, however, feel that it allows us to selectively supplement our news consumption. This ultimately decreases well-rounded views because people choose to read blogs that they agree with.

So the trouble with this page is two fold. At the top there is a bar of blog entries that the webpage is featuring. The first, even in its title, indicates that the blogger is writing an article predicting rhetoric increasing in congress. The third is an article speculating on something Romney thinks. Here is a big problem, why not just ask Romney how he feels instead of speculating. The first article in the feed of the blog itself is one speculating on Rick Perry’s potential in Iowa. Now granted, everyone is entitled to their opinion. And I, in fact, encourage everyone to voice it. However, posting it on CBS News’ website clearly blurs the lines of what is actual news and what is more rhetoric coming from the media.

The second blog, Crimesider, is proof that blogs are making every attempt that they can to fill the seemingly infinite internet spectrum with things that don’t matter.

The middle article of the feature section is one calling at “Religious leaders,” and questioning their salvation. Really? All of them are in trouble? Or just the ones that have committed transgressions. No articles on the ones doing good work, though. The second is Casey Anthony person photos. I didn’t know crime-reporting blogs act as tabloids. I’ll be honest, though, I think “Most outrageous mug shots” certainly has a place on the internet. I’m just not sure it should be on CBS News’ crimeblog.

Once you scroll down, Crimesider, the need for reporting unimportant crimes seems to heighten. Sex with rafts and shooting cats somehow trumps all of the information on meth related crimes increasing, gun problems in the northeastern US, and the US lawsuit against many major banks. And if you look in the sidebar, you see links to the most popular news stories on CBS right now. But don’t worry, they are clear on making distinctions between news and blogs…

Third we find Healthpop. Health related blogs can definitely be quite depressing at times. This one, however, seems to want to discuss the less serious side of health.

Header and feed combined, I have nothing to say about this blog.

Finally, we have CBS’ Investigates. I have no real complaints about this blog. It seems that they are actually doing investigation and reporting on what they find. So much, in fact, that some of the blogs posts are quite boring to read. Almost Reuters’ article like.

CBS does have many blogs in addition to these featured four. Each of their blogs do have RSS feed subscriptions, as well as Facebook and Twitter integration. They can also be commented on. Unfortunately, CBS has seemed to make no attempt at blogging with user submitted content (like CNN’s iReport).

Overall, CBS News’ blogging does a good job confirming the concerns that I have about online blogging through news organizations. They also, highlight some of the high points, as well.

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2 Responses to Blogging: For When Sex with Inflatable Rafts Isn’t Front Page Worthy

  1. gfisken says:

    I totally agree with you on this issue of blogging watering down what is newsworthy if it is not handled effectively and you are right to highlight the blurring between political commentary and political news which I think is especially prevalent in the USA – everything seems to be specualtion and twisting facts to suit your own needs. I do think there is room for material like this on the internet but I think it should be on a completely separate website than the actual CBS News site. It was interesting to see that the one part of the blog section you did find newsworthy (CBS Investigates), you describe as boring – is this as a direct result of the other blog sections being so over-the-top that it distracted from the one section that did have worthy content??

  2. I’m going to be honest and say that I really enjoyed reading this post. Not only was it informative but it was also slightly entertaining. You pointed out and used screenshots as evidence to show how blogs clearly do in fact blur the lines between real news and stories that are of less importance to the audience. I also agree with the user above me, gfisken, that there is room on the internet for it but whether it belongs on news sites, coming from reporters and news correspondents, is the question. However, the blogs on the MSNBC’s Today Show blog site, allDay, seemed newsworthy but the content itself seemed to be for “entertainment purposes only.”

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