Blogs emerge as new information centres

Indian blogging has shown its remarkable reach through tragedies and social upheaval – from the reservation debate to the Kashmir earthquake to the Mumbai blasts.

But its real power first came to the fore perhaps after the tsunami when it really came into its own.

More and more citizens as eyewitnesses to news events are questioning, complimenting and challenging the fourth estate, the mainstream media.

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On December 26, 2004, the day the deadly tsunami struck, photographs taken by people on the scene were MMSed and published on several blogs – alerting the world to the unfolding tragedy.

Speed is not the bloggers only virtue.

When fraud was detected in the All India Medical Entrance Exam conducted by AIIMS, Dr Chitra S was desperate for more information.

Since she did not find it in the media, she set up her own blog to put out the correct story and talk to other doctors.

“Even after constantly writing to suggestion and query boxes of all the TV channels, nobody really got the full story. So we thought blogging would be the other way of getting the full story,” said Chitra.

End of absolute power

South Korea’s ohmynews.com, run largely by citizens’ accounts, is a huge success. It operates on a simple premise – have information, will write.

Now India also has its own merinews.com. It hopes people will blog about things they see. The content will be fact-checked by a team of editors.

“There is a big gap in society today in terms of news which is peoples news,” said Vipul Upadyaya, Founder, merinews.com.

However, the mainstream media cannot be written off just yet, as blogs too can be biased and motivated.

But as the famous science fiction novelist Arthur C Clarke says, blogs represent the end of absolute power enjoyed by press barons and gatekeeper editors.
Original link: http://www.ndtv.com/morenews/showmorestory.asp?slug=Blogs+emerge+as+new+information+centres&id=93199&category=National

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Explore posts in the same categories: BlogCamp, Citizen Journalism

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