Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Marquette Blogger Breakthrough

On the front page of the Marquette Tribune today: an issue first raised on a student blog by a Democratic blogger which gained support of student Republican bloggers.

Ryan Alexander’s 1832 blog initiated a petition to fire Pam Peters of the Office of Student Development.

The petition quickly got the support of the College Republicans, and of conservative student blogger Joseph Kastner.

The issue was the front page, above the fold story in the Tribune, the first case on campus of an issue initiated in the blogosphere “broke through” into Marquette’s version of the Mainstream Media.

But here’s the kicker: the Tribune entirely failed to mention that the issue was first raised on a campus blog!

The Tribune recently ran a story on campus blogs, but has not heretofore covered an issue first broached on one of them.

The Tribune wrote a dismissive editorial on blogs just two weeks ago, whining about how “opinionated” people publish blogs, and even mentioning the case of a college student who supposedly threatened the police in a blog post.

That editorial was not a journalistic triumph for the Tribune, since it badly mangled the facts of the case.

Clearly, blogs are beginning to become a force on campus – impossible to ignore and sometimes way ahead of more traditional media.

New Blog

The Radical Centrist is a project of Patrick Whitty, a student who is a Democrat, but also anti-abortion. His first post was a critical discussion of John Bolton, Bush’s nominee to be U.N. Ambassador. It will take a while to see how this blog shapes up, but Whitty is bright and earnest and should make a contribution.

Meanwhile, Ryan Alexander’s 1832 blog has added Zach Corey and Rebecca Sjolund to the roster of posters – although Sjolund has yet to make a post. Alexander now has, potentially, a lineup to challenge the GOP3.COM blog. But the Republican students who run the latter are energetic researchers and well-connected politically, and will be tough to overtake.

Some of these blogs may disappear as students lose interest or move on to different projects, but new blogs will arise to replace them – and more.

What is still missing is faculty blogs. We think that the faculty are affected (in come cases) by a reticence to publicly express controversial opinions, in other cases by a somewhat haughty notion that blogs are déclassé, and in still other cases by technical incompetence. The last two of these will be overcome in time.

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