Blogs are not journalism


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Kipling provided journalists with an easy to remember couplet when composing a story for publication and I have taken the liberty of quoting it below.

I keep six honest serving-men; (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When; And How and Where and Who.�

I mention this little verse because in the past issue of the Advertiser, readers were treated with the opportunity to read quotes from that most auspicious of journalistic sources, the blog. These are the sites where any uninformed malcontent with a personal grudge, can say almost anything about anyone under the cloak of anonymity, while specifically avoiding that most important "serving man" WHO. Are we now to take the information posed by these "journalists of the night" as truth simply because it is written? Are they free to use words like conspiracy, corrupt and secret, making accusations without identifying themselves, in an attempt to influence the reader and bring discredit to those they criticize? It is these members of our community who continue to sow the seeds of distrust "crying lack of transparency" when in fact they do not have the courage to make these accusations in public or at least in an attributable letter.

One would surmise that the reason for this departure from the Advertiser's normal publishing standard was that there were no letters to the editor in furtherance of that evergreen issue, the mayor's salary increase or lack thereof. Continuing to publish these comments from the blogs of the Advertiser will turn this local paper into nothing more than a gossip sheet awash in a sea of cynicism. While elected officials may not always agree with each other or with members of the public, they do serve under the light of public scrutiny being held accountable for their comments and votes. Yet those who hide their identities, frequently penning the most scurrilous of comments, are free to lie, foment distrust and work to divide a community or libel an idea with no consequence to their actions yet are given the same recognition as those who labor for the public�s welfare while placing their reputation at risk.

Why would that vehicle, the public newspaper, that is supposed to guard the public interest, that requires names and addresses for letters to the editor, allow itself to fall victim to this type of cynical journalism? I think you can do better, for yourselves at the Advertiser, for the government you scrutinize and for the community at large.

Patrick Rizzuto
Councilman Vernon Township


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