Bloggers gathered in the Jack Morton Auditorium Wednesday night to debate the quality of their journalism.
The panelists from washingtonpost.com, National Review Online, The American Spectator and Barron’s agreed that the credibility of blogs varied widely. Now that millions of Americans read and comment on political blogs, the assembled bloggers said people should stop to consider who writes the Internet pieces.
“I only read three blogs on a regular basis,” said Jim McTague, the Washington editor for Barron’s. “The rest are a waste of time.”
McTague said the difference between traditional media and blogging is the difference between “evidence and hearsay.” He argued that blogs can include context for quotes, statistics and documents by linking them electronically.
Other panelists argued that there was a self-correcting system inherent in blogging.
“The information is checked by hundreds if not thousands of people,” said Debbie Weil, a corporate social media consultant.
Mark Hemmingway, a staff reporter for National Review Online, agreed.
“There is a sorting system between people sitting at home in their underwear taking other people’s work and theorizing all sorts of craziness and legitimate blogs,” he said.
Hemmingway said that even legitimate blogs like National Review Online can have their problems.
“The reach that the NRS blog has is great,” he said. “But there is a definite downside to making statements one side or the other in a highly partisan environment.”