Comm 510: Oconee County

Oconee County Observations

                        On-line blogs can serve as an source of information. Often a bloggers can supply advice, reviews, opinions, information or news. When utilizing a blog as a source of news or information, one needs to view the blog with critical eye to determine a basis and assess its accuracy. One trend in digital media is citizen journalists frequently contribute to blogs. A citizen journalist can write very good, accurate stories, but they can also write stories that may not hold up to current ethical standards.

An example website to asses is the Oconee County Observations website (Becker, 2016). This is a blog created by Lee Becker. Lee Becker has a PhD in mass communications. He is a professor of journalism at University of Georgia. He has won several awards and has published multiple papers (Cox International, 2016). Based on these credentials he should be considered a professional journalist instead of a citizen journalist. It is interesting to note his area of interest is how media can affect labor forces.

Dr Becker’s blog, the Oconee County Observations, is a news blog about the county he lives in, Oconee county. Much of the content is reporting news about land grants, local government actions and votes in the local commission. Interestingly, the titles of the blogs do reflect some of Dr Becker’s opinions. These include titles such as “funding Unclear”, and Plan Uncertain”.

It is apparent that Dr Becker may not agree with what his county commissioners are doing. He is very clear on his information about the blog that this website is his opinions, but he does strive to be accurate. He does post responses to his blogs from officials. In many ways, he does strive to be accurate on this blog. The one issue is that he may have a conflict of interest in his reporting (SPJ, 2014). He has a personal stake in what happens in the county where he lives, so it may be difficult to be unbiased when he does not agree with the commissioners.

Most people would hold Dr Becker up to higher standard since he is a professor. They may not look as his blog with quite as a critical an eye as they would if he were a citizen journalist. This opens up issue that a citizen journalist probably needs to be more vigilant about details and facts to be held in the same regard as a blogger who is a professional.

The rise of blogs written by both citizen journalists and professional journalists has led to a new rapidly evolving resource for people. As media consumers, the message needs to be “buyer beware” when assessing blogs from both sources.

 

References

 

Becker, L. (2016) Oconee County Observations Retrieved on January 18, 2016 from http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/

Cox International (2016) Dr Lee B. Becker retrieved on January 18, 2016 from http://www.grady.uga.edu/coxcenter/Administration/Lee_B_Becker/Lee_Director.php

SPJ (2014) SPJ Code of Ethics Retrieved on January 18, 2016 from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

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