September 02, 2005

Citizen? Journalist? She's Both

Emily Metzger, a community columnist for the Shreveport (La.) Times, is using her personal blog to convey the passion, urgency and anguish felt by so many other journalists during the tragedy along the Gulf Coast. She writes (my emphasis):

"I don't care how many efficient federal or state press conferences announce that the relief process is underway. It's not enough.

"I don't care how many dry, well-fed but no doubt anguished officials proclaim to the world that help is on the way. It's not enough.

"There are still thousands of people trapped in New Orleans and they're starting to die. Whatever's being done is not enough."

Steve Outing, who pointed to Metzger in this post, notes correctly that "traditional news organizations have limited resources and appear to be having trouble covering everything, because the scope of the devastation is so wide."

This coverage gap, one not so much of facts and figures and running news, but of personal voice unscrubbed by the filters of traditional newswriting, is being filled by people like Metzger and web operations like Craigslist. (Read these "lost and found" posts from Craigslist, New Orleans.)

Traditional journalists, many working under horrific conditions, both professional and personal, have done wonderful work (just as they did after 9/11). But as Metzger said, it is not enough. This tragedy, so human in its toll, needs to be reported in the voices of the people. Blogs give them the power to do that.

Posted by Tim Porter at September 2, 2005 02:03 PM