Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reviewing Blogs and 'Blog Wars'

Understanding an experience happens when it has passed, usually, though not always.

People in general and the current news media in particular are grappling with the question of a blog, what is and isn't and who are these darn bloggers anyway?

Last week I mentioned the broadcast of a documentary called "Blog Wars," and CE Petro has a fine write-up on the where the documentary failed and succeded. For me, the most interesting part of the doc was a comment from writer/blogger Andrew Sullivan, who said that blogging is incredibly liberating - to be able to write and publish on a worldwide scale without any editors or publishers or owners peeking over your shoulder. It is an experiment

I expect in coming years (or less) attempts to regulate blogs will markedly increase, even as the medium is still creating itself. Such unfettered freedom of expression is frightening to many.

The function and the form of a blog is solely determined by it's writer and/or creator. BusyMom noted yesterday a debate on whether or not a blog is a blog if it has no comments or discussions.

Old-fashioned print and broadcast media are confused and appalled by bloggers, though no so much as to dismiss them (if they are smart). More and more, the old guard is working hard to stay viable and useful on the internet.

More than once, one or two anonymous commenters here have chided me and this page, wanting to know why I didn't make this page, this blog, behave in a way they thought was best. Well, oh anonymous ones, this blog is not called "The News From _________ " and for good reason. A reader here can read news and news reports about the local area, the state, the region, the nation and even the world - but that's only part of the equation.

A reader here can easily discover after reading a few posts that the topics I write about will be on anything I want.

That's why it's called "Cup of Joe Powell" -- whatever is in my thoughts or whatever I discover reading any and all kinds of other web sites will end up here. Unlike a traditional print or broadcast outlet -- the object here isn't making money, making sales, expanding subscribers or viewers. The topics here are on my opinions, my views, sometimes well-written, sometimes just a link, sometimes all that you'll find here will be just as odd as I am.

News can be found here - and you can scan through all the links on this page to read the news, just as many of the links here are to blogs offering the views and thoughts of other bloggers. Some of that is news-oriented and some isn't. Some links are even (gasp!) blogs about blogs!!

Confusing to some, yes. Experimental at times, yes. This entire blogging deal, folks, is ever-changing. As 2007 gets going, you'll find new links being added and will likely see some layout changes here too.

Perhaps the best way to explain all this is to say that I often spend more time reading other sites of information than I do writing. Some days will bring many posts - some days none. Other opinons and comments are always welcome here as long as you have bothered to actually read what has been written about and as long as ya don't get nasty or insulting. If you find after reading here that I am nasty or insulting then my advice is to move on and do not come back. Admittedly, I will leave comments on many other blog sites expressing my doubts about what they write or my support. I don't expect my comments will change the writer's mind - I like debating/sharing information. It's a learning process for me.

I do know this - I have read and seen far more open debate, far more information, far more news, far more entertainment via the internet and blogs and web-sites that I ever saw via the old-fashioned media. The blogosphere seems to me to be populated by intense and informed readers and writers. In my view, that is incredibly beneficial to all.


  1. I completely agree. I have learned so much about myself, and about those outside of my daily experience from blogging.

  2. Anonymous4:08 PM


    "Yes, CBS screwed up badly in ‘Memogate’ — but so did those who covered the affair"

    link here:


    Thought this was interesting reading in relation to the power of the Blogosphere. It is about the events that surrounded Dan Rather's Bush National Guard story.

  3. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Joe, thanks for the link. What I've always liked about blogs, in general, is the diversity. In a way, being mostly anonymous, and not having to cater to any particular group or demographic (as does MSM) tends to give one the freedom to be more expressive.

  4. Oxy - the Rather Memo deal was a sure sign of a very highly organized partisan response to information they did not like. one thing the "Blog Wars" documentary showed was that after Rather's debacle, another highly organized partisan viewpoint likewise gained a national influence.

    There are some high profile, major players in the blogworld. But there are also tens of thousands of low profile, non-affiliated and energetic voices digging away at every partisan viewpoint.

    I suppose it is a like a hellacious Pandora's Box which has been opened up, and I don't see it closing. At least not anytime soon. The real potential for loss comes from attempts to control or limit access to the internet.
    Thanks for reading and commenting Oxy.

    Mack and CE - thanks very much for reading and for blogging too.

  5. Joe, this is probably the most well articulated commentary on blogging and news that I've read.
    It is a balancing act especially for thos of us with a news background.
    Blogging is liberating, and sometimes very scary in trying to remember that it's completely different from writing news.
    Well done.