The Modern Age

Several weeks ago, I sat in a CLE where a judge made a joke about bloggers being journalists, and about 200 attorneys snickered. Yes, how could bloggers possibly think that they are journalists!?  Perhaps the attorneys simply laughed because it was a judge making the joke, but I doubt it.

Journalists can blog, and not all bloggers are journalists.  I can agree with that statement.  The part that I took offense to was that a room full of attorneys scoffed at the notion that blogging is a valid form of writing/journalism.  The legal industry has always been chronically behind the times, but in this fast-paced, technological world, we need to pick up the pace.

Look at CNN.  They’ve devoted a whole section of their website to bloggers.  Look at Huffington Post.  Look at Law.com.

Let’s move into the modern age together, folks.  I’m not suggesting that we all start blogging our little hearts out (it’s not for everybody), but as a group, let’s start respecting a medium that the rest of the world has already validated.

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6 thoughts on “The Modern Age

  1. Reauxdom

    Validate blogging? What is to be validated? One would be misguided to go to a blog to find information for a research project, or legal advice, or a medical diagnosis, or…. A blog is a place that may provide stimulating or thought provoking information, or simply an entertaining read of someone’s creative writing, but not a place to find “facts!”

    I think that attorneys laughed at the judge’s joke because in the world of attorneys, facts matter.

    Another thought on your comments regarding the relationship between Blogging and Journalism. Journalist were once respected for reporting the facts of a story, without personal or political inference. Journalist are often viewed by many today as the simple minded minions who are hired to paint the essence of a story with the biases and prejudices of the institution that provides their income.

    Blogs are accepted as a place to express one’s opinion, belief, or observation, and many blogs may provide factual information. The fact is, blogs are not accepted as a warehouse of scholarly publication.

    So what is it about a blog that you want to “validate,” as if being “validated” somehow implies that blogging should be accepted as a source from which one may find the “gospel” of truth and fact. It simply isn’t…at least in it’s current state.

    Reply
    1. Haley Odom Post author

      Validation comes down to credentials. Sanjay Gupta who was tapped for Surgeon General (and ultimately declined) has several blogs. A Supreme Court Justice has a blog. Several well known and influential attorneys, doctors, professors, journalists, etc. have blogs. Cancer survivor blogs hold a wealth of information. When people with credentials write blogs, the information is useful. “Facts” are subjective. Pulitzer Prize winning journalists have been accused of plagiarism (one plagiarized from a blogger). Source matters. Who’s writing the post matters. The point is, in today’s society, the medium matters less and less.

      Again, I’m not suggesting that all bloggers are journalists, but blogs can provide a wealth of information. Heck, even Wikipedia (a crowd-sourced encyclopedia) has been cited in a Supreme Court decision. The world is changing. Avenues for receiving, gathering, and transmitting information are changing.

      Reply
  2. Julie Gomoll

    A blog is just a medium. 15 years ago the entire Internet lacked credibility when it came to facts. Today the line between “blog” and “website” is blurring. Blogging platforms are used as content management systems (CMSs) and “traditional” CMSs have blogging elements built in. I suspect the title “blogger” will either become irrelevant or relegated to purely personal sites in the next couple of years.

    But hey, what do I know? I’m just a blogger.

    Reply
  3. Ted Brooks

    I am not a professional journalist – never have been. However, in my years as a Trial Consultant, I have been published in numerous print-format journals. While I still write for various print publications, my blog on Court Technology and Trial Presentation http://trial-technology.blogspot.com now receives several thousand visits per month, which gives me an even greater and more diverse readership. I find that many topics are well-suited for print, such as feature articles (with less time-sensitive material, such as case-studies), and that many are not, such as late-breaking news. This is a real issue in legal technology.

    A case-in-point is my recent series of iPad Apps for Lawyers reviews, which if delayed several weeks to publish to print, would no longer be considered relevant, due to the rapid development of the technology. In fact, even when dealing in days, as opposed to weeks, I find I still have to post updates to articles posted only a week or two, due to software upgrades and other relevant news. If I want to cover a new app, I don’t want to be the last one to do it.

    My suggestion: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some blogs will offer the facts you can refer to, and many are reprints of articles which have been published in traditional formats. Others will be little more than self-promotion, inaccurate accounts, sloppy journalism and advertising. It’s up to the reader to make that determination, and if citing, to check and verify the credibility of the source (author) and facts stated. If you do find something of value, share that source with others.

    Reply
  4. Ana

    Really great post. I agree with Ted when he said that it’s up to the reader to make the determination as to whether or not the blog is “little more than a self-promotion, inaccurate accounts….” As lawyers and paralegals (I’m not a lawyer) we are trained to look for just that.

    I use blogs in some of my research in order to get the latest information possible and then I back up my arguments with any other material that may seem more appropriate to my attorneys. However, I always start with a google search which more than likely will lead me to a blog or two.

    Reply

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