Much has been made of the demise of the mainstream media. Popular opinion would have us believe news journalism is a dying art as newspapers go digital. The future is a brave new world of citizen-journalism where bloggers will reign supreme. Just one problem - blogging and journalism are not the same thing.
It’s true, the world is changing and bloggers are rapidly growing in numbers. According to Wordpress, more than five million Australians have set up blogs. That’s one in four of us. Sure, both arts involve words, but comparing bloggers to journalists is like suggesting Rupert Murdoch is the next Stieg Larsson.
Blogging is a new form of media. Just seven percent of bloggers have more than five years experience according to The Truth about Blogging, a study undertaken by IMPACT Communications Australia to find out what makes bloggers tick.
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As we have seen this week from the political and public reaction to the latest scientific report from the Climate Commission, science is not always popular.
And if you’ve come to this article hoping to see yet more thrashing of experts, you might as well stop reading now. It’s human nature to question information that’s painful, but let’s not shoot the messenger.
My role on the Climate Commission has come to an end after just over a year, so it’s a good time to reflect on my experiences working in one of the most difficult and controversial areas in the current political and economic landscape.
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If you want to gain an insight into the often distressingly abusive world of online political discussion, type the name Sophie Mirabella into Twitter or Google, and sit back and marvel at the stuff that has been written in the past 48 hours.
Mirabella is the Liberal member for the federal seat of Indi. The archly conservative Mirabella is one of those commendable politicians who leads with her chin. She has been a regular contributor to the The Punch, since its launch just over two years ago, and has never once complained about any of the often violently critical reader comments we publish under her pieces. She will go on programs such as Q and A knowing that the left-leaning Twitterati will be salivating in their share houses as they log in and saddle up to smash her to pieces, before she even opens her mouth.
Mirabella has been in the press this past two days over the revelation of a brewing court battle involving the death of a man forty years her senior with whom she had a relationship.
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A journalist has written a story complaining newspaper stories are too long.
He says people like their stories short. Punchy. That’s why newspapers are dying, he says. That’s why the internet is alive.
The story was written by Michael Kinsley. A columnist for The Atlantic. Mr Kinsley complains that a 1,456 word report in The New York Times, on Obama’s health reforms, was too long. Mr Kinsley’s article, complaining about journalistic “verbiage”, ran to 1,940 words.
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On a rainy Autumn afternoon in April 2006, while sitting in the front room of my home, I launched Digital Photography School - a blog about photography to record and share the lessons I was learning in photography.
The first post was on shooting action shots in low light conditions - it wasn’t that great and I’m not sure that anyone ever read it - but it was a start.
Today, 3 and a half years later, that blog is read by over 3 million readers a month and is quickly paying my mortgage - in fact in November it generated more than $100,000, most of that in a week after launching a Portrait Photography Tips E-book.
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There’s no way to tell how this appeared in real-time, because it was an invitation-only event, but the transcript of Australia’s first live webchat with Kevin Rudd is strewn with spelling mistakes and errant or non-existent punctuation in the Prime Minister’s messages.
The first sentence from the most powerful man in the country, guardian of our trillion-dollar economy: Hi PM here lets get going with this Nearly a thousand people contributed ton the climate change
Which makes you wonder: will live blogging exercise be extended ton other ministers?
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Over to you.
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There is an online revolution occurring with women taking to the blogsphere at a phenomenal rate.
They are connecting, supporting, sharing, creating and doing business with people they probably have never met.
It is a new wave of feminism.
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