Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Blogging needs more diversity!

That's the message Newsweek brings us in the latest issue. Here's the opening paragraph of the article:

At a recent Harvard conference on bloggers and the media, the most pungent statement came from cyberspace. Rebecca MacKinnon, writing about the conference as it happened, got a response on the "comments" space of her blog from someone concerned that if the voices of bloggers overwhelm those of traditional media, "we will throw out some of the best ... journalism of the 21st century." The comment was from Keith Jenkins, an African-American blogger who is also an editor at The Washington Post Magazine [a sister publication of NEWSWEEK]. "It has taken 'mainstream media' a very long time to get to [the] point of inclusion," Jenkins wrote. "My fear is that the overwhelmingly white and male American blogosphere ... will return us to a day where the dialogue about issues was a predominantly white-only one."
To be fair, Newsweek itself is not claiming this, an accusation that wouldn't be all that surprising coming from an "old media" source, and they do mention that the blogosphere is effectively a market system, ensuring that only the best rise to the top. Still, if one reads the paragraph quoted above, what Keith Jenkins is saying here, is that a medium in which anyone can participate at extremely low costs (or free), will propagate discrimination. Of course, he is also an editor for the Washington Post which may help explain his apparent fear of internet journalism.

The best part of the article though, is when the author suggests that the blogosphere organize itself to solve the "diversity crisis."

P.S. I'm not even going to touch Jenkins' line about traditional media having "some of the best...journalism of the 21st century."

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