The American journalist A.J. Liebling famously remarked that “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Of course, the New Yorker writer worked in the pre-Internet era, one which, superficially at least, seems to have turned his cynical view about the First Amendment on its head. Today, just about anybody with a computer and Web access, can publish just about whatever they want. The advent of the Web log, aka “the blog,” heralds this new era.

Like you I’m sure, I’ve encountered dozens and dozens of blogs, devoted to every topic imaginable—including a few unprintable ones. At its worst, the Internet (and its offspring, e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, and most recently, tweeting) is occasioning the destruction of the ability to write in complete sentences (if not complete thoughts), with nouns and verbs that agree, and laying to waste all the other niceties grammar school teachers once instilled in their students. At its best, the Web is enabling all kinds of dialogue—a give and take that was unimaginable in the Liebling era. For us in the journalism field, it’s a tool for us to stay connected with our readers, and more importantly, for our readers to stay connected with us.

So in launching my health I.T. blog, I pledge to you the following: I will bring to this forum the same principles I bring to the stories I write in print, namely that they will be well-researched, balanced, and respectful of my audience. Everything I write, I sign. But it’s your forum too, and I welcome all comments, contributions, and criticisms. We certainly have plenty to talk about!

 

Gary Baldwin

 

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