Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blogging Gets Furry

The Chicago Tribune’s blog titled “Unleashed: The Tribune's pets blog,” exemplifies the charm and temptation of the blogging world. It’s different, innovative and allows journalists to break away from their own leashes tightened by editors, advertisers and lawyers.
In “Blogging Between the Lines” author Dana Hull, from the American Journalism Review, spoke with Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association. Hull paraphrased Cox saying, “the allure of blogs is their willingness to venture where newspapers have hesitated to journey.” The Chicago Tribune has ventured far from the average newspaper’s blogging in Washington or the behind the scenes perspective on the newsroom staff. These blogging subjects are no less crucial, but perhaps in the bizarre-o-world of blogging they should also be no more important.
The Chicago Tribune’s pet blog features posts relating to issues such as the search for foster homes for shelter animals about to be euthanized. Although there are also more bizarre yet also interesting topics, such as a video on a frog jumping competition in Angels Camp, Calif., which honors Mark Twain. More serious, or newsworthy, was a video feature on a black bear who wandered into the backyards of the residential area of Hartford, Conn.
While the majority of these posts are not “windows into the Editorial Board’s thinking on issues,” such as discussed in Hull’s piece, they are windows into somebody’s world. This blog probably attracts animal lovers and anybody looking for less serious and perhaps fluffy news. We can always use a break from the seriousness of life. Additionally, the site rarely fears any type of lawsuits, unless that black bear has a lawyer on hand to sue for slander.
I have always taken the role of reporters and the word of newspapers seriously, and in return I expected earnest work. Newsroom blogs were reflective of the tone I expected and therefore tolerable in my once anti-blogger viewpoint. This is why I forced myself to examine a newspaper’s more lighthearted blog. Since the idea of a blog is to open your mind to less serious reporting, I decided to loosen my choke collar as much as possible.

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