I look forward to getting The NW Examiner, a free monthly newspaper covering northwest Portland. Reading about new businesses in the area, local events and politics gives me a feeling of community in the rapidly privatized world we live in. Allan Classen, Editor and Publisher of the paper, pleasantly surprised me with his view on the blogosphere. At first I thought he was going to rant about how non-professionals are taking away the attention of readers who should be reading what the professional journalists write in brick and mortar (and paper) publications. Instead, he praised blogs because they are so up front with their opinions and do not attempt to walk an objective point of view to satisfy a theoretical standard. Classen states that
"While most of the conventional news stories I see serve only to spark speculation about what's happening between the lines, some local bloggers are steps ahead: pursuing angles I haven't even thought about."
And the different points of view that he gets in the blog replies adds to the enjoyment and the variety of points of view.
Kudos to Mr. Classen for his article (which appears in the Editor's Turn column on page 3 of the August issue)!
This evening while in my car on the way to a walk in northwest Portland, I heard Bill Moyers on the radio railing about the establishment media and their control over Americans' minds. It made me realize how lucky we are to have the Internet and the blogosphere. Blog proliferation has given us many places from which to gather news, hear opinions and learn. Maybe too many places but better than too few.
I believe everyone needs to learn how to analyze competing points of view and how to effectively absorb knowledge. When I was growing up, it meant paying attention in school, reading, having discussions. Formal education is still a valuable vehicle for training young minds. But the Internet, composed of the blogosphere, academic, non-profit and commercial sites and both known and anonymous interactions, provides a goldmine of information and opportunity to become educated, effective stewards of our planet and of our communities, local, regional and global.