Today's Philadelphia Inquirer contains a nice analysis of how blogs and other media outlets interact to bring attention to a story that's not being covered in the mainstream media (MSM):
"They're called 'blogswarms' and you never know when they'll attack. Bloggers start taunting and disparaging the mainstream media - or MSM - for not paying attention to a story they deem worthy."
As mentioned in a previous post, the power of blogs is something students can harness as well. As a new blogger, I know how exciting it is when someone recognizes the value of something you've written (Hey, someone is actually reading this stuff!). Realizing you're writing for a real audience about something you care about certainly has an impact on writing and is one of the important elements that is sometimes left out of classroom blogging. One of the reasons might be the potential problems. Could students writing about issues at school that they don't like cause discomfort for some? Yeah, it's called democracy folks! When we empower students to take their place as citizens, these are the risks and rewards. As educators it is our responsibility to make sure students are aware of their rights and the consequences of their actions, along with the benefits of responsible internet publishing.
As adviser of the school newspaper, one of the reasons we give for why sensitive stories and controversial subjects should be covered is so that underground newspapers don't spring up to give voice to student issues that aren't being heard. But there aren't underground newspapers anymore. There are blogs. And if we don't give students a way to voice their concerns in a responsible and constructive way, there might be a blogswarm coming to a school near you.
"Blog pressure and blog reporting are integral parts of the 21st-century information revolution," Malkin said. "Better get used to it."