Image via Van Swearingen
One of the downsides to the Village Voice decision to let Christian Viveros-Fauné go for simultaneously working as a critic and a fair director shows up in the amount of time I’m now spending contemplating issues of objectivity and blogging. Prior to the adaptation of blogs by mainstream publications, web editors were frequently criticized by print media for conflict of interest, a visible problem associated with the maintenance of a more personal site. A conversation now dead, in part due to the fact that web feedback systems (such as comments and email) largely made any such conflict addressable, it would seem there might be reason to revisit the topic, if only because there seems to be less currency to these systems than there was even a year and a half ago.
Some of this shift, I suspect can be attributed to the successful transitioning of large print corporations to the web. Typically journalists run these blogs, they don’t necessarily have personal connections with the people they chose to write about, and maybe they shouldn’t because the large volume of traffic is not indicative of an active community that might provide the checks and balances other sites have. Richard Lacayco’s informative Looking Around at Time Magazine provides a great example of this kind of site, heavily visited, but solicits little in the way of comments or feedback within posts.
A result of the increasing number of print publication websites, the divide between independent bloggers and reporters supported by institutions and corporations on the web continues to widen, a change that represents a large number of challenges to independent bloggers and artists. Clearly, the one man blogger team will only experience more problems competing on the web now that there are giant corporations filling Google with their links. The threat runs deeper than this however, since a decrease in visibility for independent bloggers, may also effect the desire for publications with more personal content. As the proprietor of one such operation with a preference for bold opinionated sites full of personality, I’m inclined to indulge in the premature worry that these blogs may suffer considerably in the years to come. Time Magazine may offer a little more in the way of a reliable read, but just as often, I prefer the unpredictability of self-supported blogs.