Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Purpose of this Blog

Lamar White, Jr. is an Alexandria blogger who is also an employee of Mayor Jacques Roy. He recently posted this about a particular situation that exists in the blogging community in Alexandria. One of his major points is that the local media have very limited resources when it comes to in-depth reporting, and that too often the slack is taken up by bloggers assuming the role of journalists.
I will note that Shreveport is fortunate to have some really good local reporters at the Times, primarily Alison Bath, Adam Causey & J. A. Prime, who all dig into local stories and cover them very well. I don’t intend to slight any other local sources, but these reporters keep my attention.
While some of Lamar’s blog post doesn’t really apply to our area, his comments on blogging are excellent and I endorse his views.
Excerpt:
When I created this blog more than four years ago, it was never my intent to serve as a source of local “hard” news. I don’t approach this blog as if it is a news outlet; this is primarily about commentary.
…… Still, it is important to remember that journalism is a profession. You need sources and access; above all, you need to be engaged.
So, faced with the absence of information, we substitute credible journalism with conjecture and opinion. Suddenly, the news becomes someone else’s half-informed opinion of their impression of someone else’s newspaper story.
And this conjecture and opinion can be compelling. It’s often spot-on. But it’s not news. It’s commentary.
I think that this description can aptly be applied to My Bossier. While on a few rare occasions we have offered up ‘hard news’, our purpose is to open up discussions about local news events.
This is usually done with a blog post containing my opinion about any given situation that has been reported. We may discuss local events that aren't getting as much attention from the press.
The process is completed by the people who comment on My Bossier, and it is these commenters who give the blog real substance.
The point of the whole thing is that news is reported by professionals who are bound to report the facts, while the blog can take those facts and conjecture on their meaning and effect.
Good food for thought.

7 comments:

  1. Home Webster News DA: Freedom of Speech is not freedom to stalk
    DA: Freedom of Speech is not freedom to stalk

    Written by Bonnie Culverhouse
    Friday, 19 March 2010
    A former Webster Parish deputy who was arrested Tuesday for cyber stalking one of his past co-workers, did not have his right to free speech violated, according to Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin.
    “People who post on web sites need to understand that when you put something on a message board that is totally untrue with malicious intent, you can be prosecuted,” Marvin said.
    Marvin referred to posters on the Minden Press-Herald message board who expressed concerns about freedom of speech following the arrest.
    James Alfred Sledge, 44, of Shreveport was arrested for posting comments on the Press-Herald web site, referencing a deputy he called by name and claiming that deputy had committed illegal acts.
    “That’s where he crossed the line,” said WPSO Investigator Scott Tucker. “It just happened that it was directed toward a deputy, but when you put somebody … anybody’s name out there and state something that person did as fact – when you know it’s a lie – that’s a criminal act.”
    Marvin reiterated that the posted comment has to be untrue before it becomes a crime.
    “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” he said. “You can say, ‘I think that officer or that person is lazy,’ for instance. That’s your opinion. What this man (Sledge) did was say something untrue and defamatory.”
    The Press-Herald’s web site message board averages about 122 posts per month. From February 2009 to present, Sledge posted more than 100 comments on the Press-Herald message board. Tucker said not only did the offended deputy bring the posts to his attention, but so did some of the general public.
    “It’s hard to police something like this,” he said. “We overlook a lot of it, but when it’s a repeated deal, it tips us off to a person’s mind-frame. What if it turns out that he (Sledge) harbored some kind of ill will toward that deputy? We have to consider that he may have done something to harm him.”
    Marvin said that “Web Masters” should watch sites closely for remarks that may be considered illegal and remove them from sites before they are read, if possible.
    “Of course, that’s difficult to do,” Marvin said. “Once they’ve been on a site, even a short period of time, it’s like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. The damage has been done.”
    Sledge was arrested after an investigation that took place over several weeks, beginning with a subpoena served to the Minden Press-Herald for the Internet Provider address and Sledge’s user information.
    Following his arrest, Sledge admitted to the Minden Press-Herald that he had lied about the deputy and “wasn’t using the brain God gave me.”
    Sledge was taken to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center where he was later released on $5,000 bond. His charge is first-offense high-grade misdemeanor, which carries a $2,000 fine, one year in jail or both.


    Comments (2)


    1 Written by bodcau_sailor, on 20-03-2010 09:54
    Look out china here we come. Silenced for making comments about the ruling party.
    Report

    2 Written by CountryGirl, on 20-03-2010 13:49
    King Marvin has spoken. We should all know by now that HIS word is Law and all us citizens must abide! Not this one. My opinions are mine and I think I'll keep them and express them whenever I like. I hope you choose to do the same!
    Report


    Does our DA have a new calling? hmmmmmmmm

    ReplyDelete
  2. OK, I am not sure I understand this comment by Anonymous. The article you pasted, in the way I read and understand it here basically says that any untrue statement about someone can be prosecuted. I thought this has been going on in liable suits for many years. Whenever someone says that someone did something or is something they are not, and they knowingly did it, the lawsuits come out of the woodworks. Or am I wrong? Yet the article states that Mr Marvin says that opinions are ok as long as they are stated in such a way as everyone knows they are just opinions about someone. I believe this is correct. You end the post with. "Does our DA have a new calling? hmmmmmmmm" So are you disagreeing with that assessment and have a different take on it or are you saying that it is someone elses job to do this and not the DA? If I have read this wrong let me know where Mr Marvin is wrong in this assessment. I don't even live in this area, don't even know this Mr Marvin except what I have heard in the last few months on this blog about him.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You just need to give up blogging. Don't you have better things to do?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous @ 203 PM. you talking to me or Jim?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm talking to the person who runs this pitiful excuse of a blog.

    ReplyDelete
  6. No, I'm good. Maybe you need to give up commenting.

    ReplyDelete
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