Bloggers Advocate for Media Rights, Independence and Wages

As blogging and social media become more accepted as legitimate mainstream news sources, bloggers are fighting for their rights.  In the article by Sieon Roux called
Bloggers might be excluded from Oregon’s executive sessions,” political blogger Mark Bunster helped propel the campaign to reform Lake Oswego’s media policy.  I find the draft policy that the Lake Oswego council has submitted to be vague.  What does it mean to produce at least 25 percent news content?  What exactly counts as “news?”  Politics?  Business?  Life and Social events?  This seems like it should be defined a little more clearly.  Also, I don’t quite understand why the mainstream news were in such an uproar over the proposal.  It seems to me that if the mainstream media were doing their jobs then they would have no problem fitting the description “institutionalized,” “well established” and producing at least 25 percent news content.  I think this definition could exclude important bloggers that may not have the funds to become well-established or institutionalized.  Serious and hard-working bloggers can serve as an extra pair of watchful eyes and catch problems the mainstream news might miss or neglect.

Another timely issue bloggers are facing today is maintaining independence.  The Hartford Courant bought 5 weekly papers, and some of  the weeklies loyal readers fear the news content will be dramatically altered.  “…some readers reacted with alarm to The Courant, seen as reliable but bland, adopting the lively Advocate chain. The local arts community treated today’s announcement like a death in the family.”  I believe their reaction is valid and warranted.  I would be let down if my favorite publication changed ownership because there is certainly going to be a change of opinion as to how news content should be handled.  That’s the biggest issue I took with the Huffington Post merging with AOL.  The quote that struck me the most from the article in The Observer was made by Professor Jack Lule, a journalism teacher at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Lule said, “She [Arianna Huffington] betrayed the ideals of a lot of people who were happy to work for nothing because they thought it was for a cause.”  This hit a nerve because the Huffington Post stood for a dominant alternative to Republican news sites, and I can see why people would feel betrayed since it almost seems like a sellout.

However, I think the argument from bloggers stating that Arianna Huffington exploited writers and  that the business model is a ” galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates” is a little dramatic.  The word slave reproduces the image that people were forced to write for the Huffington Post without any compensation.  From my knowledge of the website, this was not the case.  Bloggers contributed to the site because they were passionate about their topic and wanted to have their voice heard. Personally, I would like to be compensated for my journalistic work, but if I had extra time I would not think twice about donating my work to a reputable site such as the Huffington Post.

 

I think this photo sums up how some bloggers feel about Arianna Huffington merging with AOL.

Image provided by Adbusters

Image provided by Adbusters

 

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About Laura Murray

My name is Laura Murray and I am a senior Journalism major and politics minor at Ithaca College. Upon graduation, I plan to pursue a career in broadcast journalism as a reporter or a producer.
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