Seeds Of An Associated Blogosphere
A WiFi-connected “blogger bus” was parked outside E3, the Mecca of gaming in L.A., readied with plasma TVs and leather couches, so the Xbox faithful could hammer out the news and views to make up the canonical texts of the gaming “way of life.”
The Washington Post Online sent out six journalists to cover the annual video game industry tradeshow, who found themselves severely outnumbered by zealous bloggers, chasing down Steven Spielberg, and providing up to the minute coverage of the goings on there. Bloggers from Italy, from Japan, from Canada stacked atop one another in shared hotel rooms using shared laptops, chronicling the intricacies of “Halo 3.”
Before there was the exclusive worldwide club we’d come to know as the Associated Press, there were bands of aggressive journalists rowing boats (scores of them) out into New York Harbor, all fighting the waves, and each other, to climb aboard immigrant vessels, and scribble down the news from the “Old World.” Enough people were drowning that they decided form a union.
“The people who are blogging are the most enthusiastic, the most sort of evangelical,” online community manager for Xbox John Porcaro told the Washington Post.
Veteran journalists can be snooty, indifferent, or ignorant of the blogosphere and what is happening to the world of journalism. Bloggers acknowledge, too, that they’re not exactly journalists – bloggers don’t have to follow the rules. Some journalism idealists may extend (with only a hint of condescension) the ominous title of “tabloid,” and the accuracy that comes with it.
But outside the debate, the world and the blogosphere continue to spin. Journalists, who insist they’ve earned their titles and begrudgingly admit that blogs are fantastic first sources of information, continue to polish and publish the official version.
Bloggers, who don’t give a damn if they’ve earned their titles or not, continue to guide the discussion and give journalists something to talk about and to look into. It’s not that bloggers can replace journalists, or that journalists will never acknowledge the lay reporter – it’s that they’ve formed a symbiosis that makes news faster and more hard-hitting.
To criticize a blogger for being opinionated, poor at spelling, atrocious at grammar, incomplete in descriptions, or propagators of rumors, is to validate and praise the professional journalist for being the opposite, when in truth the two need each other for exactly those reasons.
Are we to criticize also Ms. Neufield, a blogger/business and religion major quoted in the Washington Post Online, who proudly announces that games are “a way of life?” Can one us of really say that her chosen majors are not exercises in and extensions of role playing fantasy — or that they are mutually exclusive in some way?
Can a writer belittle the gamer for living in a constant digitized fantasy world, when he has constructed his own from text? Can a journalist look down his nose at the blogger, or vice versa, for filling in the gaps when their arms become too short to stretch?
One also has to wonder how long it takes before shared hotel rooms and laptops evolve into an Associated Blogosphere, and the world will have to sit up and take serious notice.