Indonesia “conventional” Media seems to start seeing blog with a bit more respect. Not again regard it as a teenage tool-kit or IT geeks playing ground. Kompas, the largest selling national newspaper, carried an article on May 18, 2006 with an interesting title: Pewarta Warga, Ancaman bagi Editor? (Is Citizen Media a Threat to [conventional] Editors?
From that very title we can assume what lies beneath. And that’s important: Indonesian mainstream media has already regarded blog the citizen media at par with them. A big departure from previous years of outdated assumption that blog is only a temporary trend; a teenaged communication tools just like friendster, MiRC, YM, etc which will evaporate once it’s followed by a more advanced gadgetry.
I think, the departure of opinion among conventional media towards blog culture are because of several reasons:
First, the facts that some prominent figures and celebrities with national and international stature like Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono, PR guru Hermawan Kartajaya, celebrities like Angelina Sondakh and Tiara Lestari all start blogging several months back.
Second, the facts that some journalists and intellectuals also start blogging which in turn increase the quality of blog content.
Third, the fast growing of Indonesian blogs nowadays.
Speaking of the article in Kompas, however, I think the writer would have made a better and more comprehensive piece if he (she?) had supported his research and interviews with the right person. Like for example someone who has experience in blog and blogging.
See the opinion quoted by the writer which indicate that the interviewee, named Dedy Nur Hidayat–a mass communication “expert” of Universitas Indonesia– just doesnt have a clue about blog:
“Blog, situs pribadi atau mailing list hanya efektif dalam kasus tertentu untuk sumber alternatif yang luput dari pengamatan media massa.”
Blog or personal website or mailing list is only effective in certain cases for alternative sources which are uncovered by mass media.
In other words the expert want to say that blog, like mailing list, will only be used in a country where freedom of expression is limited like Indonesia during Suharto regime.
Another shortcoming in the article is that the writer thinks blog is like a forum when he refers to News and Record warga Greensboro as a blog.
“Berdasarkan penelusuran Kompas, di News and Record warga Greensboro dapat saling sapa, saling bertukar cerita dan pengalaman sehari-hari di lingkungan mereka. Dalam rubrik Public Record, misalnya, orang yang menikah atau bercerai bisa mewartakannya di blog tersebut.”
All in all, I feel it’s encouraging sign for the good departure of opinion as far as Kompas–represent mainstream Indonesian media– is concerned regarding blog.
But if I could give a little advice to you and other media who want to write anything about blog, here’s my words:
1. Mass Communication expert doesn’t mean he/she also have expertise in blog unless and until he/she has his/her own blog. In another words, talk to blogger if you want to discuss about blogging stuff. Merlyna Lim, Enda Nasution, Priyadi, Budi Rahardjo and Ong Hock Chuan to name a few, could be the right persons to talk to. Indonesia has many pseudo-expert of mass communication and telematic who are talking rubbish all the time, mind you.
3. If you want to make a report or an op-ed piece about blog, ask journalist who already has a blog.