Lights in Versailles
Versailles, France (photo by dr. fil)

Granted, the term media comes with various meanings. Still, while looking for a definition, this one came close to what we arguably think of first:

media (usually used with a plural verb): the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely (source)

Now I do understand that blogs are perceived by some as “new media” and we often hear the term of citizen journalism. Well, crap.

As I see it, blogs are convenient places to vent, to share with others one’s experience and opinions, opinions, opinions. Have I mentioned opinions? They are as different as the people who write them. Without editors in place to censor or instil common sense and without owners to set goals to be achieved by their hired managers. Yes, it’s great. Hey, I play the game on occasion. It can be fun, yes. But are they media?

Let’s take a look at citizen journalism. Sure, it can be a wonderful learning experience for an aspiring journalist. It can, again, provide a vent to folks with an axe to grind. It can certainly help rally support for various causes, not least political parties in electoral campaigns. But more than that? Take a look at the Citizen Journalism Standards as published by the Huffington Post, for example. Err, journalism 101, anyone? Come to think of it, some regular do-it-for-a-living journalists might do well to re-read that set of rules.

So what’s my point? Who knows, I’m just venting. Seriously, blogging is not journalism and blogs are not media as in relatively reliable professional productions. Those blogs and bloggers who come close to what we perceive as such, will either be transformed into real grown-up media with real responsibilities and accountability and try to make a living with it or they will lose heart.

Unless they’re actually part of some sort of estabished media, bloggers, in my opinion, simply lack the resources and most of them lack the knowledge and training to be reckoned with as media of wide reach with an actual influence on the public.  Just as importantly or more, as far as I am concerned, they lack accountability. Which brings us to the reason why I went on this ramble parade. Not that long ago, one of the first and probably best-known Slovenian bloggers allowed a guest poster to publish a certain text that I found upsetting.

In the midst of a particularly sensitive period of relations between Slovenia and Croatia, theguest poster published a note about an online strategy game, in which the faux Slovenian President declared war on Croatia. He was in effect drafting people to join the game and go to (online) war on the Slovenian side. Now you may think I’m being anal about this, but violence, even one that seems benign, has always been my pet peeve. The blog’s owner told me everyone has a right to their own opinion. Right. But would such a call to join an online war on a neighbouring countries, drawing on the real-life disputes and tensions, be published and advocated in mainstream media? One would hope not.