Blogs: Find a Blog to Read or Create Your Own
Blogs began as simple online diaries, updated regularly with new "posts" appearing at the ... read more »
Like all Web pages, blogs can range from extremely informative and high quality to mere low-budget advertisement. With so many out there, the ability to skillfully judge a blog's credibility will help you narrow the pack and save you a good deal of time. But the low-cost and at-a-distance nature of Web publishing makes it harder than ever to judge who's behind a blog. This section will equip you with the know-how and tools to evaluate a blog's legitimacy.
- Most people have some familiarity with journalistic ethics, but too many assume the same ethics are practiced in the blogosphere. With an evolving mediascape, ethics and good practices are being constantly reevaluated and repurposed. The debate about the relationship between blogs and traditional journalism (and whether the question even matters) is still raging.
- Here are some basic questions to ask yourself about any blog you encounter:
- Who is/are the author(s)?
- Blogging is not a very expensive endeavor (it can even be profitable), so pretty much anyone can write one. The blog you're reading may be written by a professional blogger, a person with a little spare time, a group of friends, or even a company with numerous employees contributing. A credible blogger will make clear which of those they are in their "about" or "policy" page/section. Knowing the source of a blog is essential to understanding the credibility of its information. A drug company's promotional blog is probably not the best place to find objective information about its products; a congressional lobbyist probably isn't the best source for political news.
- Even among unbiased bloggers, the range of expertise and experience is vast. There are seasoned professionals and respected academics in the blogosphere, as well as laymen who want to put in their two cents. Simply having a blog does not give its author any credentials or credibility.
- What affiliations does the blog have?
- Blogs may often be sponsored by, partnered with, or endorsed by other, sometimes larger publications or organizations, educational institutions, or governments. This information should be made available in the "about" section of the blog or through the use of any relevant logos.
- Bloggers, especially those who have a large readership, can make money by selling ad space on their sites. Keep a blog's sponsors in mind when assessing objectivity.
- Excessive ads on a blog often indicate a lack of credibility.
- How often is the blog updated?
- A rarely updated blog is a warning sign of a money-making scheme or some other lack of credibility.
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