In a short time, these blogs gained raving reviews and before we knew, they had taken the online audience in Pakistan by storm. From speculating on Osama bin laden’s death to exploring fancy eateries, ‘news site blogging’ attracted readership to the extent of eventually increasing online traffic. More like symbiosis, the liberty of expression gained the bloggers recognition and the websites higher rating. So what is the reason behind this sudden influx? Considering that online journalism is still in its budding phase in Pakistan, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that blogging on news websites is perhaps in its inception. How it is then that blog section have become a primary source of attracting traffic online. 24-year old faraz karim, marketing executive at a first – moving consumer Google (FMCG) company, is of the opinion that blogs do two things that traditional mainstream media simply cannot. “blogs have a more personal tone. Almost all of them are imbued with the personality of their writer. This personal touch strikes the reader more than the opinionated pieces of columnists in magazines and newspapers, which passes through and is influenced by several pre—production filters”.
Another that characteristics that distinguishes the online content of news websites (blogs especially) from print editions is the instant interactivity, unlike the content in a newspaper, online readers get to instantly give their feedback. They can like a blog post straight away, share it on various forums and also write their responses in the comment box. “Seeing your name online in the comment box of a blog post and the debate that one’s comment can generate is a great motivating factor. It also give the blogger a wider audience and recognition,” Sarah Zia an ardent followers of news blog commented Meanwhile, how do web editors ensure that the content of blogs is authentic like that of the other news content on the websites? “with a mass following, which often overcomes the online traffic slot of nay other news section on a websites, it is indeed a challenging task to maintain the usual characteristic informal tone of blogs and at the same time retain credibility. If we edit too much, it loses its originality, Unlike a news item, blogs are supposed to be the personal opinion of a blogger, and tailoring it too much will make it lose its essence. So what do we do? We circumvent the ritual of routing the content from an editor to the publisher to the advertiser. This is done keeping in consideration media ethics and social norms and talking the liberty to published it with its originally ,”the web editor of a reputed media house told on the condition of anonymity.
The fast-growing community of bloggers promises convergence of internet usage and is doing good to promote citizen journalism in the country. The second Pakistan blog awards, held last year in December, further strengthened this argument. Garnering thousands of votes from internet users across the country, the results of the awards were a testimony to the ever-thriving blogging community of Pakistan. However for all the history made by newspapers n the post for decades, journalism has also been blamed to be done a certain way, by a certain kind of people. In conclusion, even though the news world will always argue on the importance of traditional news gatekeepers vs. ‘oblivious’ bloggers the fact cannot be ignored that blogging has done a lot of good for citizen journalism, it has made us realize that the world is far more diverse then the newsrooms.