Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: OK, I FINALLY finished my Community Voices column for the Anchorage Daily News...after four tries!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

OK, I FINALLY finished my Community Voices column for the Anchorage Daily News...after four tries!

This is what I submitted for publication. Hopefully, it will fly.


It didn't...here's the new version.

In a previous column, I talked about the selection of my blog (Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis) by the Democratic National Convention to represent Alaska. I also discussed the debate over a lack of diversity within the ranks of selected State Blogs and I encouraged any writers-of-color to come forward and add their voices to my blog or start one of their own.

I was not disappointed.

Tlingit writer “Writing Raven” contacted me, created “Alaska Real” (alaskareal.blogspot.com) and immediately dove into the deep end of politics from an Alaska Native perspective. In a very short time, she has received much well-deserved praise for her writing. I’m happy to say that she will be coming with me to help split the blogging at the DNC, covering the Native American Caucus and many other events.

Dennis Zaki, who runs the high-traffic Progressive media website AlaskaReport.com, is also credentialed for the DNC.

According to the Democratic Party, Dennis, Raven and I are the only credentialed Alaska-based media outlets. When I say “the only media outlets” I’m including television, radio and newspapers from Alaska…none are going. Also, Alaska Report is the only Alaska-based media outlet credentialed for the Republican National Convention, so the only Alaskan covering the RNC is a Democrat.

Oh, the irony.

Both Parties’ conventions have fully embraced blogs, indicating that these and other independent media sources have established themselves as news-gathering organizations in their own right. However, there is a debate as to whether or not this is a good thing.

Many mainstream media sources, especially newspapers, have been losing viewership/readership and revenue for years. While some blame increasing Internet access for this (and that claim has some merit), bloggers also point out how 20 years of corporate media consolidation has limited the number of differing voices and available news outlets. Whatever reason, mainstream media focus is shrinking, causing local media to depend on affiliates, etc…A backlash of some sort was inevitable, thus blogs and other forms of independent media began a rise to prominence.

This attention to blogs during this presidential campaign has caused some to question whether bloggers are “journalists.” Folks think of “journalists” as unbiased “reporters” so confusion arises since blogs generally have some level of overt bias. However, the words “journalist” and “reporter” are not interchangeable. According to Merriam Webster Online, a “reporter” is a writer who “reports news”…indicating a level of objectivity. A “journalist” is a writer who “aims at a mass audience.” Bloggers “aim at a mass audience,” whether it is conservatives, liberals, dog-lovers, etc…

Regarding my own writing, “Community Voices” columns are “journalism.” The articles on my blog where I do research and/or interviews I would also put in the journalism category. Whether or not they are “good” journalism is a matter of opinion…the same as it is with mainstream media. And like the “MSM,” readers let me know through their readership (blog traffic), email or comments.

Of course, the rip-roaring rants are not something one would find in a newspaper or other mainstream media source. Occasional snarkiness may not be “journalism” but it is one of the perks of a blog owner!

In eight days we fly down and in ten days our work at the DNC will begin in earnest. I hope we make our Alaskan supporters proud. I also hope that the volcanoes take a break!

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