Truth in a War Zone: The Role of Warblogs in Iraq
This chapter proposes to examine the emergent forms and practices of blogging as an augmentation of – and at times challenge to – war reporting. As will soon become apparent, however, we have not attempted the difficult task of comprehensively surveying the multiplicity of warblogs concerned with the invasion and its aftermath. Rather, we have chosen to investigate a small number, grouping them into three broad categories: warblogs associated with major news organizations; warblogs produced by freelance or ‘sojo’ reporters, as well as ‘personal’ or ‘amateur’ journalists; and warblogs posted by Iraqi citizens. In the course of our analysis, we draw upon insights provided by bloggers themselves, both from interviews conducted by ourselves as well as from other sources. We suggest that these writers valued the use of blogging as journalism – characterized as it is by informality, subjectivity and eyewitness experience – for the ways in which it cuts across the fundamentals of ostensibly impartial news reporting. In this chapter’s evaluation of warblogging’s relative strengths and limitations, then, care will be taken to discern the extent to which it represents a challenge to certain longstanding tenets of war reporting.