Monday, October 29, 2007

Can the public’s media literacy really revamp blog credibility?

While many newspapers now understand the importance of collaboration with blogs and citizen journalism, the public still often doubts the credibility of new media. Rightly so, in some cases. So traditional media can use their credibility – ‘media literacy’ – to their advantage by orienting the public towards trustworthy blogs.

"In a few years, it is going to be a no-brainer for local publications to have a window into what's happening in the local blogosphere as a way to attract readers and to build partnership with local bloggers," says Dave Mastio, editor of

The Knoxville News-Sentinel partnered with the BlogNetNews to direct online readers to local blogs that are relevant and reliable. Although most people are now used to the idea of blogs, few trust them off the bat.

“These people still want gatekeepers, and they want those gatekeepers to come from the mainstream (read: recognizable) media,” says Steve Klein, Poynter Institute.

“Everything you read in a blog or wiki may not be true. That is in equal part the consumer's responsibility as a media-literate citizen.”

It’s true that the consumer is partly responsible for his or her news judgment. But to say that this responsibility should be equal to that of an author presenting unverified information as fact? Risky.

Nonetheless, there’s everything to gain by raising the public’s media literacy. But that won’t be simply done through journalism programs focusing on teaching media literacy to students. (Student) journalists may use professional guidelines when they blog, but the reality is that many bloggers will neither learn nor care to follow these guidelines. Because a good share of bloggers simply don’t perceive their work as fulfilling a journalistic mission.

Source: Poynter Institute

No comments: