ARTICLE OF THE DAY
 
Death to the Blog
by Eric Gilmore
1/20/06

Just a couple of hours ago, I found out that jean shorts were so 1990s. My ego deflated when a sorority blonde muttered the words, “fashion crime” as I leisurely walked through campus. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a smidge. But the point is that my lack of periphery either makes me uncool or just a ringer for being the last to find out juicy and sometimes vital information.

Yeah, that’s a bad personality trait for an aspiring journalist. I’m supposed to be paid (still under negotiation) to inform the public, on the brink of news worthy information at all times.

           
Another indication that I wasn’t with it was when I somehow stumbled in “the Rec” last week, not to be confused with “the Ruck” (of course, a reference to the infamous NYC park). Translation for the pre-1998 graduates: the ECU Recreation Center is the pollen for the campus honeybees while also serving as the main gym. Speaking of, the second-floor of Christenbury is condemned for you artifacts who miss ‘the glory days.’ Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.


I digress. While keeping the girlfriend entertained through an adapted version of racquetball in “the Rec”, I couldn’t help but notice the droves of students bearing iPod armbands. I barely know two people with iPods. But it was then that I realized this whole iPod craze completely whizzed me by.


Fast forward to me searching for some pertinent information for my column. We in the sports journalism business have somehow convinced ourselves that reading espn.com and cbssportsline.com is “research.” Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, I noticed that every freaking reporter on the web has a blog.


For those left in the dark like me (until a couple of months ago) who still confuse a blob and a blog, I’m feel for you. Nevertheless, a blog is basically an online journal. Unlike the strict guidelines of print and broadcast journalism, blogs literally have no rules.


Because random people, John Does, can create their own blog, very few in the industry know of a way to control the spread of mass information. In fact, experts aren’t sure what quite to think. If the internet is young, calling the blog an infant would be a compliment.


In my opinion, reporters are losing credibility with the increasing popularity of blogs. News reporters are held in extremely high regard, as people whom have the public’s trust. In fact, reports show that news reporters are trusted more than elected leaders. Truthful at all times, the general public trusts the media to be unbiased and report only cold hard facts.


How can I trust blogs when the reporters are faceless? Who ensures that the information was received in an ethical and proper manner? What agency is accountable to ensure that information published is correct? The answer is simple: not a soul.

And who has time to read 146 blogs about Duke basketball? I barely have enough time in the day to simply read the few daily articles on ECU sports. Hardly do I have the time to read 50 journal entries by random fans claiming themselves as so-called expert reporters. Or even for that matter, 50 so-called reporters blogging themselves as experts.

       
Before that, professional blogs will eventually have to make money. Aside from news or sports corporations supporting them, how will these online journals solicit advertising dollars? I’m fairly certain that ECU won’t advertise with an online version of my thoughts.


Blogs are the new face of message boards. It’s empowering to the fans. And in sports, more message boards with faceless ranters slandering public figures is a true nightmare. The message boards have created this unrealistic ‘quick fix’ atmosphere we now share in collegiate and pro athletics.


Look, I agree that print journalism is on the ropes. It’s a simple mathematical equation. The internet has now scooped radio as the fastest medium for people to consume their information. And radio, because of its inaccessibility and choices can’t compete with the internet. I do realize that I’m writing this article because of a radio station.

But are blogs truly the answer of the internet? The media has survived for years without them. Saturating the net with journal entries wasn’t exactly what I envisioned when I signed up for this gig. And if this trend continues, I cringe to find out what comes next.

Eric Gilmore
ejg1102@mail.ecu.edu