The Park Record editorial, July 22, 2009
July 21, 2009
Just when the weight of negative comments, inane Twitters and blowhard blogs forced us to question the whole concept of interactive media, we were directed to Cody Marshall’s blog. The link contains regular medical updates on Marshall’s recovery from a recent brain injury and is laced throughout with loving anecdotes posted by the young ski racer’s brothers and sister. And each of their updates has drawn a flood of supportive comments from friends and family all over the country.
The five-day-old blog is a testament to the Marshall family’s capacity for hope and optimism. It is also an example of the immense power of the World Wide Web one that has opened new horizons for far-flung families, for experts in every field all over the globe and, importantly, for journalists too.
Marshall’s blog reminded us of our initial great expectations for input and feedback. At times, those expectations have been fulfilled we have received thoughtful commentary, beautiful photographs and valuable story ideas.
Far too often, though, after reporters and editors have carefully fact checked and trimmed away all but the confirmed and relevant details, anonymous posters distort the online version of the story with the same allegations and personal attacks that we, as journalists, chose to delete. It is enough to make us want to remove the commenting tool altogether.
But then we see a blog like Cody’s, or a website like TED that is tackling some of the biggest intellectual challenges of the day, or we see a people’s revolution being conducted on Facebook and Twitter and we realize it’s not the tool but how we use it that counts.
Like all newspapers, The Park Record is still learning how to harness the Internet to further its role as a community forum. We have eagerly adopted each new technology, from polls and blogs to mobile updates and Twitter. But it is still a work in progress. Therefore, in the spirit of new media, we are turning to our readers for advice. Please log on to The Record’s home page, http://www.parkrecord.com and look for The Park Record blog to add your comments about our interactive efforts.
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And while you are online, if you are looking for an example of the web at its very best, log on to http://codymarshallsblog.com/ and send a note of support to an extraordinary family.