Blogs officially hit popularity around the beginning of 2004 and it was then that the newspaper giants started doing everything they could to discredit blogs and bloggers as reliable news gatherers and reporters. There were a great many cartoons in the winter and spring of 2004 that depicted the media “dinosaurs” trying not to step on the little cavemen bloggers who were scurrying around beneath their feet.
So ask yourself this: which do you trust more-the newspaper or a blog?
Don’t let yourself feel bad if your first thought was “obviously a newspaper is more reliable than a blog.” Most people still feel this way, even as blogs have gained notoriety. The truth is that because of the history we all have with newspapers, most of us are more likely to trust one of them than we are to trust an independently run news-based blog. It is mostly out of our need to cling to tradition that many of us feel this way.
This does not mean that there aren’t news blogs out there that are worth paying attention to. It also doesn’t mean that you should change your mind about starting a current events or political news blog. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to compete with the newspaper big boys:
1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race. Unlike the calls placed by a famous newspaper reporter, most of yours will not be returned…in the beginning. It is important that you take your time to solidify yourself on the internet as a reliable and trustworthy source for readers and sources.
2. Ethics Are Important. One of the things many newspaper reporters pride themselves on is their ability to be ethical while reporting a story. In fact, once a newspaper reporter violates journalistic ethics, he or she is usually quickly shown out a back door and will have a horrible time finding a new reporting job. You must make sure that you follow the same ethics values that your newspaper competitors follow. In fact, yours must be higher than the competition if you want readers to take you seriously.
3. Check Your Facts. A good rule of thumb in newspaper fact checking is that if you can find three independent sources who confirm a story, the story is probably true. Bloggers have to be more careful-there is no such thing as too many sources or too much fact checking. This is the reason that some people are more likely to trust a news blog than they are to trust a newspaper: bloggers have to work harder to maintain credibility, so what they choose to report is probably trustworthy.