Family Magazine

Where Do You Get Your News?

By Monicasmommusings @mom2natkatcj
Don't mind me as I bash bloggers.  It's okay, I'm a blogger so I can do it.  But bloggers tend to ooze expertise in many different areas that they probably don't really have.  Not all bloggers are like this.  I try really hard not to get too preachy here.  And please, if I do tell me!  Blogs are meant for opinion and sharing experiences only.  Not meant to be the be all end all of decision making on any subject.  And this goes for news too people!
Bloggers writing as reporters!
I don't mind seeing a post from a blogger about things in the news.  What I can't stand is seeing a blogger reporting the news in the same sort of biased way you do as a blogger!
For example, today I read a news story about a father in CO who made his child stand on a street corner with a sign that said he was a theif.  If I were to come here and relay this news story I read to you with a tone that without a doubt this child will be psychologically damaged because of this father's actions and this man should lose custody of that child because that is child abuse, then I'll be doing one of two things.  Either I'm going to get a bunch of people saying oh yes that boy is going to be traumatized for life and that father should be strung up by his toe nails, or I'm going to turn people off.
Now what good does this do anyone?  Either I lose readers which really would suck for me, or I have created a lynch mob against this poor father.
How can bloggers avoid this trap?
Hey, we have opinions and we want to share it, I get that.  I personally think there are ways to share our opinions while coming off as having experience in an area, but also making sure it's clear that this is simply my opinion!
Back to my example above where I created a lynch mob against this dad.  Instead of saying he's going to be psychologically damaged, unless I am a psychologist I can't say that for sure.  I studied psychology in college, but it wasn't my major and I didn't graduate college so I'm not an expert in that.  **If I had said instead as a person who has studied psychology and a mother who has experienced her child steal something I feel that this is psychologically damaging to this child.  And here are my reasons... 
Did you see how I presented my feelings on the subject?  Based on my experience and education this is how I feel!  The delivery of the message is just honest and forthright.  Now of course there will be people who completely agree or completely disagree, but I have not created a lynch mob because I say this is how I feel about this situation.
Then I would also link to the article I read!
I can't just retell a story like this.  I need to share the original story.  And preferably from a legitimate source too.  If I share a story read from another blog, then I'm just starting a game of phone tag.  The message is going to get so distorted in the end.  I need to cite a legitimate source for my information.  Not a site like Jezebel or Huffington Post where they have glorified bloggers writing news topics with the sole purpose of stiring the pot for hits.  Just like I can't use Wikpedia as a reliable source of information in a paper I can't use tabloids as a legitimate source of information.
It needs to be a relavent source.  If you are writing about a story having to do with infant vaccinations and you link to a homeschooling advocate site the whole thing just begins to look fishy.  You will lose credibility with your readers this way.
The bottom line!
Blogs are great places for getting many differing opinions and maybe even being introduced to new information, but no one should ever take anything they read on a blog too seriously.  Unless you are reading a blog that is written by a doctor, then you should not be getting your medical advice from a blog.  As a matter of fact I think even a doctor who is a blogger would probably tell you to consult your own physician.
I would like to ask all of you to question what you are reading on the internet.  Look into your source.  Google search the writer to check their background.  Check their other writing.  Investigate!  Then share!  Don't share and then sit back and watch things snow ball into a huge mess.  Don't take everything you read on the internet as gospel.  Check multiple sources.  Just don't be gulable.  I encourage you to check me out even.  I have nothing to hide.
And as bloggers we really need to be cautious with our words.  We need to make sure we're not coming off as experts in areas that we're not.  Even the experts might not have all of the answers and there's nothing wrong with saying I don't know about that or I don't have experience with that particular thing, but here is where you can go to get further information.  We also need to check and recheck the information we are putting out there.  Especially if we're passing along information from the internet.  This will help us not create lynch mobs.  So unless that's what you're hoping to create be very cautious with the wording you use and the sources you get your information from.
Do you think bloggers have a duty to be careful with their words?  Or should people just know that you can't believe everything you read on the internet so it doesn't matter what any given blogger says?
**In the example above I took the side of this being damaging to the child because I felt that it showed better what I was saying with the whole idea of a lynch mob.  My actual feelings on that case are I would pat the father on the back and I told my daughter I would do the exact same thing.  I have actually done something similar when my daughter was 5 or 6 years old and she stole a lip balm from a store.  When I found it, we returned to the store, she had to admit it to the store manager, and then buy the lip balm, and I then threw the lip balm in the garbage.  She remembers this and she hasn't stolen again and 6 years later I don't see any evidence of psychological damage in her.
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