Official blog of Clark's Blogging for Journalists class, Mass Communication department

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The power and risk of blogging

Read this story from the New York Times, Wednesday, and comment on the power and risks of blogging.


  1. Blogging is one of the most powerful tools, if done correctly. While it's easy to make posts about certain topics you're interested in, if you happen to strike gold and publish something of interest to the mass audience, you suddenly hold a lot of power. However, one wrong word or seemingly-innocent mistake can ruin your credibility. Another risk of blogging is that you're putting yourself out in the world in a place that can't be erased. While it's easy to think, "Oh, I can delete that," one must remember that the damage doesn't go away that easily. People can take a screenshot in the amount of time it takes to blink and suddenly, you're in the spotlight and the evidence is right in front of you.

  2. Blogging can change everything, one minute you're a nobody and the next everyone knows who you are. Most people blog about random things without really thinking about it, but you never really know who is watching you. Blogging has so much power to change things. With social media becoming bigger each day, what you post can go viral within minutes.

  3. The internet is now at the tip of our fingers due to advances on technology. This allows bloggers to post at any time they wish to do so. One of the biggest risks of blogging is that sometimes bloggers post information that is false or misleading. When readers are being told something that is not true, the reputation of the blog and blogger can be detrimental. Nothing post on the web is safe. The only way to limit risks on blogging is that the blogger must choose to monitor oneself when posting.

  4. When you start to publish any kind of work in the internet, people can easily access it and may or may not learn anything new from a blog. However, little things can result to bigger things, sometimes become a culprit for the people to learn things about the unknown. Blogging can be as powerful as anyone would want it to be, but there are always strings attached to it.
    Anyone can blog about the government or any celebrities about their personal lives and many would believe it, the question though is how far you will go just to share information to the people?
    In the worst scenario, one may be risking his life in exchange for any information he can share tot he public.

  5. Blogging is still a relatively young way to recieve information, statistics, opinions, stories, and almost anything else you might want. This is a powerful tool but with power comes risk.

    Being able to disperse your thoughts throughout the world in seconds seems almost unreal, but we do it everyday. We possibly impact people with our words that we will never meet or know about. That in itself is power.

    The risk of this power also contains within the reader. We cannot possibly predict and protect how every person will interpret our writing. When we publish a post for anyone to see we take the risk of how they will view it.

    Power and risk go hand in hand. With the power of blogging, comes the risk from readers.

  6. Blogging is becoming a very prominent, and credible, source of information. In this day and age, anyone with access to the internet can be a reporter, which is alarming to any celebrity or public figure. At the same time that we're becoming more connected, we're eliminating privacy.

    Personally, I find reports like this a little disturbing. Sure, public officials don't need to be breaking the law, but everyone does. If the girl was 18, the legal age, then what is the deal? How is it any different than if they were actually dating, versus just having sex? Granted, that would probably be just as much of a scandal. I just don't understand the need to prove that pubic figures have private lives--of course they do. They're people.

    I'm excited at how prominent blogging has become, mainly because that's my job. I write blogs for other people and get paid to do so. It's a nice new outlet, as compared to traditional journalism or another writing job I might have had to take otherwise. But it's also alarming: I feel like we're almost too dependent on technology.

  7. Interestingly, muckraking is making its return in the technological era. While I don't agree with or condone slander/libel in any platform, I do like the checks and balances created by blogging.

    The risk runs when untrue or unidentified editorials are taken as fact. It's the responsibility of journalists to remember their ethical standards when posting.

    In addition to the blogger, the followers must sort out truth for themselves. They must not rely on one source to confirm information.

    Blogging comes with risks, and can eventually be a powerful source of communication for the blogger. Don't take such responsibility lightly.

  8. Everyone who blogs will and can be seen by anyone at anytime and if posts go out like Mr. Zhu's they most definitely get pushed to the forefront of media. You may or may not want the publicity. Either way you can make people angry and put yourself in a harmfull situation. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now. I'm sure there will be a thorough investigation on his sources and videos.

  9. Blogging gives people a voice. I can see how some may be threatened by people who blog, depending on what is being written on the blog. Mr. Zhu is posing a threat to people holding government positions and is taking a big risk doing so. I admire him for challenging his government and upholding his rights as a journalist. Even though he is in danger by writing and posting videos, he still keeps his honor and word when it comes to his sources. I feel that is an important quality to have.

  10. Blogging can be a very effective tool in means of gaining power. If a blogger has the skills and resources necessary, it's just a matter of earning a following to be successful. Opportunities are endless, and anyone in today's world of technology has the power to be a successful blogger; that's the beauty in it. As for risk, it's unavoidable. People underestimate the power of the written word, and once you publicly publish something you can't take it back. I think that's important to keep in mind.

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  12. The thing that is most frustrating about this is that it seems that blogging has given anyone the right to be a "reporter." If I were to live in a place like China, I could understand the unrest the politics or the government has caused for its people. In a situation like that, I could also understand why people like Mr. Zhu, who have no education in journalism, might feel the need to stand up. And perhaps this is the only way he thinks that he can.

    However, if he wants the right to be considered a journalist, then he should also hold himself to the same standard that every other journalist must. Unfortunately, I don't know if I necessarily consider what he is doing right or wrong. On the one hand, I admire him for sacrificing so much to ensure that corrupt officials are brought to justice. On the other, I think he's a hack with access to videos and the web who thinks what he is doing is good investigative journalism.

    I definitely wouldn't want to be where he is... with a target on his back. But I guess that is what it takes to get things done in situations like that. Doing what is controversial.

  13. The Power and Risks of Blogging:

    The power of blogging is that any person, no matter what country they live in or what class they belong to within a country, can blog. And for a person to become a good blogger, they only need to blog, blog and blog some more. The better they become the more powerful they become and as in this instance, a big scandal is all you really need.

    The risks of blogging go hand in hand with the power. As with power in any circumstance, risk is involved. This man is risking his life and livelihood for checks and balances and I LOVE IT. This reigns true for every blogger. You have to be careful what you say. If you were to blog about something/someone and it caught fire and became an overnight internet sensation, which is something that happens on a daily basis in the U.S., then if you didn't do some fact checking you are headed down a very bad, and risky, path.

    Also wanted to say, how about this quote from the article?
    “We used to say that when you have a problem, go to the police,” he said. “Now we say when you have a problem, go to the netizens.”

  14. Initially blogging appears to be a very powerful medium to the masses. Anybody with vital information can put it out there, have it noticed, make a difference, spark a change. Blogging shares the same power as journalism without the ethics. The lack of ethics is what causes blogging to be so dangerous. Sure the information has reached the masses and gives into "pure journalism," but who did it hurt and at what costs (monetary and lives). The following excerpt from the article, “[w]e used to say that when you have a problem, go to the police [...] now we say when you have a problem, go to the netizens” sums up succinctly why blogging can be so powerful. It gives the power to the people. Suddenly the entire world is capable of having an input.

  15. A "news" blogger with no journalism credentials takes enormous risk, especially if they cover politics and corruption. While an admirable endeavor, Zhu creates more hardship on his self by grandstanding.

    The most important aspect if journalism is credibility. Zhu's boasting of awards and power scrape at his own aura of the "for the little man" journalism he sells, which in itself helps those he tries to bring down.

    The corrupt government officials he targets want nothing more than Zhu to be disgraced and lose sway over his followers. If he continues to put himself in as high regard as the purpose of his work, he is only lighting the fuse of his own destruction.

  16. The power of blogging lies in the ability to widely disseminate information that would be otherwise be filtered by gatekeepers.

    The risk lie in the same area. The real world is filled with powerful people who outnumber the simple man.

    If you are ignorant of media law, then you will be supplanted immediately in the event of upsetting a power balance.

    If you are knowledgeable of the law with an ability to profess it, then the upset party will enact a war of attrition.

    Still, the power is still on the people's side if the information is compelling enough. It falls on the blogger to fight battles accordingly.

  17. Blogging is powerful. Blogging gives an opportunity for the truth to be exposed. The blogger however is at risk for persecution, threats, or even physical acts of violence. Blogs can effectively get any message across to a particular viewing audience in a non-confrontational, but direct way. As a blogger, just like a journalist you have to stand behind your work. Blogger and journalists are supposed to represent the truth and are subjected to any backlash from their works or posts.

  18. One thing that a lot of young bloggers, or old bloggers for that matter don't realize is how public your blog is. Even if its a small blog, it can become widely know just from one small post. Things can go so easily viral in todays society. You must always be careful and wise to which you decide and post on your blog. Maintaining your character is a great part of blogging and in order to do so, you must filter what you post. Because blogging is powerful and whether you may realize it or not you can have a great impact on peoples' lives that you may not even know or ever even encounter.