Bloggers and those who love them will want to watch "Nightline" tonight (ABC, 11:35 pm on our local Portland station). The scheduled subject is blogs and their effect on society. Here's an excerpt from today's Nightline email:
Tonight's piece is a fascinating one. Turns out that as John and producer Elissa Rubin were conducting interviews with bloggers, they were being blogged. The bloggers had some interesting opinions, to say the least. And as this program airs (and this e-mail is read by viewers), there's no doubt that bloggers will blog about it.
Yes, they got that right.
(See post continuation for the full Nightline email about this program).
IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, BLOG 'EM
March 8, 2005
Got something to say? Got access to the Internet? You're one step away from being a blogger. And these days, bloggers are having an affect on politics, news, on everything, really. And blogs are changing the way we do news. There's no doubt about it.
I check several blogs a day. Some on politics, some on technology and some journal blogs written by my friends. It's become part of my daily routine, like reading the paper in the morning.
So what are blogs? Turns out that although 8 million have created blogs, 62 percent of Americans who use the Internet don't know what a blog is. That's according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And in an age where blogs are fundamentally changing the nature of news, we thought we'd tell you the story about the beast of blogging.
In case you're part of that 62 percent, blogs are online journals. They are places on the Internet where anyone can have a voice about, well, just about anything. If that definition seems vague, that's because the nature and rules of blogging are being defined more and more every day.
Blogs have been credited with bringing attention to news that the mainstream media (called by bloggers "MSM") is slow to report, or would otherwise ignore. Think of the cases of Sen. Trent Lott, CBS' Dan Rather, CNN's Eason Jordan, among many others. But blogs don't only bring attention to comments made by those in the spotlight; they can also affect your privacy. How?
Well consider this. You're at a party and a blogger overhears your conversation with someone. That person then writes about your conversation, using your name, in his blog. Well, anytime your name is searched on the Internet, that blog will appear with your comments made at that party. Is that fair? The blogger doesn't even have to identify him or herself. Or his sources.
Not yet anyway. A California judge is considering a lawsuit brought by Apple Computer against three bloggers who have published information on unreleased Apple products. The bloggers refuse to disclose the identity of their sources (who are likely Apple employees) and are asking for the same legal protection as journalists. Under the California Shield Law, journalists don't have to reveal their sources. Do the same laws, rules, codes of conduct of journalists apply to bloggers? Not yet. Should they?
Tonight, correspondent John Donvan will tell the story about a high school teacher whose blog led to political change in her state. Tonight's piece is a fascinating one. Turns out that as John and producer Elissa Rubin were conducting interviews with bloggers, they were being blogged. The bloggers had some interesting opinions, to say the least.
And as this program airs (and this e-mail is read by viewers), there's no doubt that bloggers will blog about it.
We hope you'll tune in, along with the bloggers.
Zena Barakat & the "Nightline" Staff
ABC News Washington Bureau