A (Partial) History of the Blog

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This week NPR posted Timeline: The Life of the Blog, a history of the blog as we know it today.

It’s a fun trajectory to ponder, from the formation of the Internet’s oldest online communities in 1979 to the launch of Cleveland’s community network for residents, Freenet, in 1986, to the emergence of homepages and online diaries in 1994—and beyond.

The timeline includes the birth of podcasting, and it also chronicles blogs’ effect on political campaigns, but it does not explain how the blogosphere has changed journalism.

I mean, what about bloggers getting paid to link to business’ websites but not telling their readers? What about the trend of downsizing newspapers creating blogs to help axed staffers find work elsewhere? Let’s not forget the bloggers who cut and paste other people’s content and claim it as their own reporting work, or the newspapers that get half of their content from bloggers instead of trained reporters—and pay exponentially less money (or no money) for it.

I’m all for the blog. I’ve blogged for pay and blogged for free, and had fun both ways. But if we’re going to tally the high points of this medium, let’s not forget the lows, either.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

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And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

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