11 Eylül 2010 Cumartesi

Alper Bağmeşli Türkiye'deki gazeteci blogcular röportajı Texas Üniversitesi'nde yayınladı

Pinar Gurleyen- PhD. Student in Simon Fraser University -Canada
Perrin Ogun Emre, PhD. Candidate,Marmara University, -Turkey also Lecturer in Kadir Has University-Istanbul,Turkey

Exploring new journalistic platforms: experiences of Turkish journalist bloggers.

Findings Motivations for starting a blog

Robinson defines a journalist weblog (j-blog) as a “cross between a column, a news story

and a journal” (2006, p.64). The interviewed j-bloggers mostly start their blogs for personal

reasons such as “building a personal digital archive for their work” (Dundar; Bayramdede;

Tekelioglu and Bagmesli; interview) or to use the extra material they have produced for print

media (Gurbuz; Eser; Sahinbas, interview). Therefore the content of the blogs mostly consists of

recycled material with few exceptions mostly produced by independent journalists (i.e. Ragip Duran).

While one j-blogger explicitly states that he did not intend to create a participatory

platform in his blog (Dundar, interview) another j-blogger; Yaprak Aras Sahinbas emphasizes

that she created her blog to enhance her relationship with her readers (interview).

Liberating potentials of blogs


This theme has been brought up by j-bloggers in terms of journalistic work as well as

citizens’ access to media. From both perspectives, different forms of internet publishing

including blogs are conceived as an important platform to break down the concentrated and

corporatized ownership structures of the mainstream media that exclude alternative voices

(Gurbuz; Duran; Arsan, Interview). That said, j-bloggers mainly emphasized the impact of the

blog format for their own news work. The non-existence of editorial control is stated as an

important asset by multiple j-bloggers in terms of maintaining the full control of the work:

I’ve experienced the benefits of the blog in the sense that it (blog) provided me with a space in

which all the decisions related to writing and publishing are taken by me (Duran, interview).

While Duran acknowledges the lack of editorial control as a positive aspect for his work,

interviewees including him think that this same phenomenon does sometimes enable the

circulation of violent or discriminatory content (on the online environment) which would

otherwise be eliminated in a news organization due to certain control mechanisms (Duran;

Arsan; Tekelioglu and Bagmesli; Gurbuz; Dundar, interview). The fact that this potential danger

is mostly associated (by the participants) with the material published by the non-professionals

indicates that professionalization and the media organizations are seen as a filter against this kind

of unethical practices. In other words, institutionalized journalism equipped with certain norms

and practiced in media organizations as a group work with the involvement of several

professionals, is seen more trustworthy than personal or amateur journalism.

In terms of the freedom from structural constraints journalists express different points of

views. Ozgur Gurbuz finds that, compared to mainstream media, censorship in blogs is “far less

significant and the self-censorship is more limited” (interview). Tekelioglu supports this by


mentioning a story that she had not been able to cover when she was working in the mainstream

media (Tekelioglu and Bagmesli, Interview):

There are things that we cannot write about in the media.... We (journalists) are using self

censorship and I want to use this blog to talk about these subjects. [..] For instance, I’ve

interviewed Emine Erdogan (first lady). The publishing of the interviews has been prevented by

the Prime Minister. I’ve sold the recordings and transcription of the interview to Aktuel1 two

years later. If I had this blog by then, I would have published it here.

Other bloggers did not indicate similar experiences in terms of self or other types of

censorship. They do not mention any concerns about a possible conflict of interest relating to

their work in media and blogs. Yet, the words of Bayram Dede made us think about a more

subtle form of internalized control. Bayram Dede suggests that the bloggers can be held

responsible by media organizations for the content they produce in their personal blogs:

When journalists receive negative reactions for an article published in their blog, they cannot tell

to their newspapers’ executives that this does not concern the newspaper as the article is published in their

blog. This perception of responsibility can act as a filtering mechanism for the journalists and

may prevent the full usage of blogs’ liberating potentials.

Other liberating functions of the blog stated in the interviews consist of technical aspects

such as the possibility to explore a subject in more detail by the hyperlinks and using hypertexts

to enrich the material (Sahinbas; Eser, Akyildiz, Interview).

1This is a news magazine published in Turkey.

13Subjectivity versus objectivity

Most of the interviewed J-bloggers value their blogs as a personal space where they can

express themselves freely. The subjectivity of the blog format means different things for

reporters and columnists. Eser, a reporter j-blogger expresses this difference as follows:

In media you always see the same news language, the same words ... reporters are not allowed to

make comments. This is rather the columnists’ job. The content of my blog looks like my personal

observations rather news in terms of language. It has a more pleasant tone...

Thus blogs give reporters the possibility to make their own comments and share the

backstage information concerning the events they report. This last aspect is especially stated to

be an important and genuine contribution to the news work (Eser, Interview).

For columnist j-bloggers subjectivity mainly consists of being visible as a person in the

reader’s eyes:  My main aim is to show people different (less-known) traits of my personality through different forms of writings (Akyildiz, Interview).

Despite these statements that embrace the subjectivity of the blog format, certain jbloggers

avoid transforming their blogs into personal diaries. In other words, they want to keep

this personal space in the contours of their profession (Tekelioglu and Bagmesli; Eser; Dundar;

Interview). This concern for a professional stance in the blog sometimes translates itself into

adaptation of a more formal news language which is a reflection of the notion of objectivity in

journalism. Bayramdede (Interview) for instance insists on using the same language in his blog

and his newspaper articles.

14 As most of our j-bloggers use the content that were originally produced for the news

organizations, their work do not demonstrate a great shift from the notion of objectivity.

Moreover, they do not express such a concern. However in some cases (i.e. Eres; Azar,

Interview) they prefer to personalize the news stories by including information about the news

making processes and the backstage stories. This in turn contributes to the demystification of the

news work and can be interpreted as a divergence from the role of the journalist as an objective

observer. Participation/Gate-keeping Almost all the interviewees acknowledge the importance of the interactive character of blogs. Yet the nature of this interactivity is mostly limited to a feed-back mechanism that consists of readers’ comments. We observe in one case that even this type of simple involvement

is denied: Tekelioglu and Bagmesli do not allow reader comments on their blog on the grounds

that this might be abused by some readers to post “insulting and violent” comments (Interview).

Others mention that they attribute user comments a fact checking function: “The details

that you might have missed or mistakes that you make are commented on by the readers”

(Bayramdede, Interview). Bilge Eser likens this to Big Brother and mentions constraining

aspects: “[..].at the beginning I was writing in a rather sloppy manner about the elections,

politicians or political parties...but I’m receiving more comments now and choosing my words

more attentively. However, when I’ve realized this, I said ‘wait a minute I did not start this blog

for this’” (Interview).


Journalists also use their blogs to announce (or get feed-back about) their works such as novels

or documentaries (Dundar, Interview). Among the nine journalists interviewed only one, who

focuses on fashion and trends, uses the readers as news sources and even news produced by the

readers (Sahinbas, Interview).

Exploring new journalistic platforms; experiences of Turkish Journalist Bloggers

by Pinar Gurleyen and Perrin Ogun Emre Buraya Tıklayarak röportajın tamamımını görebilirsiniz

Exploring new journalistic platforms; experiences of Turkish Journalist Bloggers

by Pinar Gurleyen and Perrin Ogun Emre Buraya Tıklayarak röportajın tamamımını görebilirsiniz

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