When we first look at a newspaper, we can easily deduce that it contains two fundamentally different types of content. First are the news articles written with a more or less impartial tone, and we have the columns and Op-Eds, which are sections with a higher tendency for commentary. As for Turkey, columns cover a huge part of a newspaper, and when one columnist changes their newspaper, it is featured in the media the same way sports journalism treats an international sports transfer if a star player changes his or her team. While their importance in the media differs by country, the attitude towards them is somewhat the same worldwide. They are usually respectable and informative people with a sufficient background on the subject they write about. At least that is the way it should be.
As news blogs continue to spread online, many bloggers try to follow the format of columnists as they share their input on a recent event and draw conclusions or offer predictions to their readers. While several of them enjoy a rather large follower base, the rest usually have to be content with a meager amount. It appears that traditional journalism still has the upper hand compared to citizen journalism in this regard. The main reason we do not see the same exodus in the column arena is that many of the readers still views columnists as an authority in their field and show reluctance to switch to bloggers without a very good reason. Recently, however, several columnists seem intent on giving them one.
Last week, there was a column published in the World Post section of the Huffington Post – an article by Tom Ginsburg titled "A novel solution for the Greek debt crisis: Join Turkey," which was published in July 8. The article was promoting a union between Greece and Turkey as the referendum result came with a strong "No." As I progressed into the article, I could not tell if it was an elaborate attempt at humor and satire or a serious article. I still am not sure which one it is. The comment section below also shared my confusion as many expressed their surprise on the lack of seriousness expressed in the article. The background of the writer seemed sufficient as he is the Leo Spitz Professor of International Law at the University of Chicago, but the article he wrote seemed like it came from a parody blog itself.
The share numbers of the article was quite high – granted it received the attention of the readers from both Turkey and Greece – but it appears that articles born out of wishful thinking and wild speculations will only serve to alienate more readers from mainstream media and push them towards alternative venues. After all, they can find better analyses on a fairly famous blog that provides a better interaction between the writer and the reader.
HHH We also received a letter to the editor this week because of the recent Op-Ed "Remembering the Rohingya Muslims" that was published on July 2. The letter itself arrived on July 7. As we repeatedly feature letters with a critical nature as well as ones that compel us to publish corrections, this week we choose to feature one of the positive ones and extend our congratulations to our Op-Ed editor. Here is the letter from our reader:
"Thank you for the Op-Ed "Remembering the Rohingya Muslims." I appreciate how it drew attention to the fact that the main cause of the Rohingya's persecution is their faith, Islam, and that they are indigenous to Myanmar. Something not mentioned in the article is that seven Nobel laureates – Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Tawakkol Karman, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee, and Adolfo Perez Esquivel – and the international community have labeled the situation in Myanmar a genocide. Hopefully the awareness raised by this article will help bring an end to the Myanmar government's persecution of the Rohingya.
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