Citizens all over the world are rightfully skeptical of the media. Poll after poll reveals that people feel the once honorable fourth estate is incapable of reporting the news “fully, accurately, and fairly.” A clear majority, 55% of Americans, still distrust the media after hitting a record high of 60% in 2012.
Big media cites rapid changes in digital technology, shrinking newsrooms, and a litany of other challenges as to the reasons they’re failing. Even with this sense of industry panic, big media offers only a debate—not a solution.
This is why more and more citizens are becoming citizen-journalists, aka bloggers. Bloggers are uploading pictures and videos and writing reports that are accessible to all. There are no paywalls, expensive luxury bureau offices, or hidden agendas.
For over a decade bloggers have been met with hostility. Journalists in New York and Washington D.C. had numerous reasons why citizen-journalism wasn’t reliable and so even more bloggers stepped up to prove them wrong.
This morning, I was alarmed by what wasn’t on the Sunday news shows.Every single network (ABC, CBS, and NBC), and even cable news channelCNN was absent of coverage concerning the decision Friday out of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found that bloggers have the same 1st Amendment protections as mainstream media outlets. The attorney representing blogger Crystal Cox, Eugene Volokh (a noted advocate for free speech and blogger rights), blogged that this is good start.
In the case, Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote:
The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story.
This news is huge and the absence of even a mention on the Sunday shows is even bigger!
The media knows its in trouble. While big media is busy obsessing over the supposed bridge scandal with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a moderate Republican, they’re getting backlash from their viewers. So instead of 100 articles about “bridgegate,” there are now 50 articles about “bridgegate” and 51 articles of the media examining its own coverage of “bridgegate.” It’s definitional insanity! In every single poll, the public is telling the media to move on from this story. The public is so disinterested in the story, that even in this hyper-partisan climate, no one’s opinion of the Governor has changed. But the Sunday shows couldn’t get away from it all.
Rightfully, the Sunday shows are talking about President Obama’s Friday N.S.A. surveillance program reform speech. But instead of even mentioning a related Rolling Stonearticle where it is revealed thatWikileaks is an organization full of fraud, blackmail, and lies; the media is asking its leader, Julian Assange, for his opinion of the President’s speech! Assange appeared on CNN Friday afternoon to attack President Obama and U.S. intelligence programs during more than 15 minutes of softball questions.
Big corporate media is talking about all the wrong things and ignoring the people its required to serve. As is the case in Egypt, Syria, and Libya, blogging isn’t a luxury of a healthy society, but a necessity for all societies—including the U.S.
I run a growing organization called the National Bloggers Club. We’ve sought no grants, have zero strategic partnerships with big corporations, and don’t court a lot of press or do year-round fundraising. People chip in when they can. Throwing our annual event, Blog Bash, has been a true joy for me. For one night a year, bloggers get treated like the heroes they are.
It’s easy to do what I do, because of what bloggers do. We bloggers do what we do because we must.
If bloggers don’t do the work which those early journalists and pamphleteers did in the American revolution, then no one will. It is why the founders chose to permanently protect a free press and an open society through the Constitution.
There is a future for both professional and citizen journalists, but only one is proving its current worth.