A few days ago, a blogger named Jeremy Hermanns was on an aircraft that suffered damage before take-off, and subsequently had to go through emergency procedures. Jeremy took photos with his handheld, and blogged the incident; his blogging was then picked up by big media. This is news in it’s own right. Not to demean the incident in any way, but my focus here is on the way the world of blogs reacts to events like this. Here is Jeremy’s original post…and all the comments that were appended to it. If you have the time (it’s a looong page), following the reactions to it as they develop is quite fascinating. There are well-wishers, of course. But also a slew of people criticising his conduct and reportage in a number of ways. Subsequent IP traces revealed that a number of comments came from people within the airline company who ran the flight…once this was revealed, the controversy just doubles…see the follow-up post here, complete with another hefty column of rantage of all kinds. I’ll leave the details for you to find out on those links; the guy has earnt his traffic.
Why I am I drawing attention to this? Well, it seems to demonstrate why I think blogging is important. First of all the reporting of such an event from a personal perspective, without any prior media spin. But also the comments, even the negative/spoiler ones. Blogging is an open soapbox where anyone can say anything…hell, look at the crap *I* post! But this kind of visible public debate over a story like this cuts the profit-making media outlets out of the loop and lets the common man report, respond, comment and criticise in whatever manner they see fit. And as these comments demonstrate, a lot of people really aren’t able to disguise their bias (or in some cases, bloody-minded idiocy) when they do so. This is true democracy in action, warts and all.
As a postscript, I would like to say that I personally feel Jeremy’s blogging was brave and justifiable, and I am glad he came out of the incident okay. My stand on the other stuff in the comments? Well, why not read through and see if you can’t find my 10 pence worth!