With the rise of blogging has come a shift in how we as a society receive and perceive knowledge. How can we be certain that information presented in blogs is true and accurately portrayed?
First, as the media literate person that you are, you should see who is writing the information you are reading. What is their background? Are they an authority on the subject being presented or are they stating their own opinion? If they are not an authority, do they offer any links or documentation that supports their opinion? In this golden age of blogging, you do not need to be a “professional”. That being said, if you are trying to write an informative blog, sticking to certain “professional” standards would be a good idea.
For Example, take the Oconee County Observations blog. The author is Lee Becker. He has a B.A. in Journalism and a M.A. and Ph. D. in Communications, which would make one believe that he is an authority when it comes to reporting. However, as far as his profile is concerned, it does not give any sort of information regarding employment or experience. So would he really be considered a “professional”? With the information presented and in a traditional sense, maybe not.
As far as the subject matter of the blog, Oconee County, I would consider him an authority. He is someone who has “lived in Oconee County since 1997 and expect(s) to retire (there).” Becker states that he wants “to reflect events and discussions” regarding the goings on within his county.
With many bloggers, it may seem hard to stay impartial. Becker does address his bias by stating, “I’m a citizen of Oconne County. My experiences and aspirations for the county have influence on what I post.” That being said he takes steps to have other viewpoints represented and also to tell the audience how he came across his information. He also tries to “apply the standards of accuracy, fairness, and transparency.”
His blog shows that he is passionate about the subject matter, but that he is able to keep his bias at bay by portraying the information in a way that is not purely opinion. By being open and honest about where the information is from shows a level of professionalism. Because of this, you might come to the conclusion that the blog can be trusted regardless of if it was written by a “professional”. In this day and age, being a professional is not synonymous with authority.
Becker, L. (2016, January 30). Oconne County Observations. Retrieved from Oconne County Observations: http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/