Friday , July 12 2024

Blogging the War

Last week we reported on the accumulating signs of imminent war with Iraq. They keep piling up, so much so that Slate has said the chance of war is 99%.

Another indication is that the news media are speaking as though was were a certainty, although they always add a caveat like “in the event of” or “should war occur,” but these are as formulaic as “alleged” when attached to court reporting even when the defendant was caught in the act by 100 cops on live TV.

Here’s a report from Reuters on anticipated web coverage of the war:

    For the first time since the Internet became a fixture of American life, the stage has been set for a huge international story that could expose the strengths and weaknesses of the Web as a purveyor of breaking news.

    The Internet as it is now known didn’t exist in 1991, when Iraq was driven out of Kuwait by allied forces. Now as Washington prepares for another war with Baghdad, more than 68 million homes and millions of U.S. businesses have access to the Web.

    That will make the medium figure prominently in keeping Americans informed. Unlike the lightning-quick U.S. military action in Afghanistan (news – web sites) after the Sept. 11 attacks, an Iraq conflict is expected to be the kind of news event that will lend itself to specialized coverage on the Web.

    “The coverage of the war against terror in Afghanistan was fast, accurate, reliable and comprehensive, but it was relatively one-dimensional. This is going to be the first major conflict, if it happens, to be covered at the beginning of the broadband era,” executive producer Mitch Gelman said.

    The Internet can provide more detailed coverage than traditional media because it allows sites to post complete documents, first-hand civilian accounts and, due to the growth of high-speed Internet, video on demand.

All of that is dandy and doubtless true, but how can a major news service like Reuters run a lengthy particle on web coverage of the war and not even mention blogs? This would indicate that despite all of the lip service in the mainstream media about the spreading influence and importance of blogs, when it comes to the delivery of news, they still aren’t taken seriously.

I understand and agree with the theory that when it comes to event reporting, especially from a remote location, that the mainstream news outlets have the advantage of trained reporters on the spot and expert analysts waiting to explain and elaborate, but wait a minute: with a million bloggers out there almost every news event has at least one blogger on the spot reporting live. And bloggers are nothing if not analysts – with virtually every conceivable field of endeavor being blogged by someone trained in the discipline, or at least a dedicated amateur, dismissing bloggers entirely from the category of war reporting and analysis seems shortsighted.

It remains to be seen how much actual reporting on the coming war will be done by bloggers, but when it comes to analysis and pespective, I assure you they will be second to none. Where do you think the term “war blogger” came from?

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

Check Also

header image

SXSW 2024: The Science and Craft of Storytelling

Human beings tell stories. It’s what makes us different. At SXSW 2024, Cheryl Hauser explained what it takes to be a great storyteller.