“What really sold me about Ithaca was the fact that I could get involved from day one at the Ithacan,” says blogger Rob Bluey ’01. Bluey, who graduated with a degree in journalism, has become a one-man riptide under the wave of the “new media” that is drastically altering the way Americans get their news. Bluey, webmaster of BlueyBlog.com has already had an impact on journalism and 21st-century American politics.
“Blogging,” says Bluey, “allows anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to have a printing press. It has changed the world for the better, connecting people and bringing them information that wasn’t easily accessible when I was in college.”
Just in case you have any doubts about blogging’s importance to politics and the media, consider this: “The example of then-Senator George Allen getting caught on tape uttering [a racial slur] is most often cited as a turning point in that Senate race largely because liberal bloggers forced the mainstream media to pay attention to a story that would have otherwise never been covered,” explains the conservative Bluey. Because of attention from bloggers and other media around the country, Allen lost his Senate race and his bid as the possible GOP nominee in the 2008 presidential race.
Bluey and other bloggers have been churning behind the scenes for years, and their work has also seen radical results nationwide. Remember Dan Rather? The renowned CBS 60 Minutes news anchor suffered a lethal blow to his career during the 2004 presidential race between John Kerry and incumbent George W. Bush, and this former Park student was right in the thick of things.
“I was covering the 2004 election,” Bluey remembers, “often looking for stories that the mainstream media wouldn’t touch. Shortly after arriving at the office on September 9, 2004, I was handed a sheet of paper featured the night before on a CBS 60 Minutes program about President Bush’s National Guard career.”
It was at this moment the presidential race experienced its first big turnaround. Says Bluey, “My boss asked if I could identify what was wrong with the document. I studied it and noticed it was typed in a font that resembled Times New Roman, which is common on computers today but wasn’t around in 1972.” The documents had been falsified.
Once Bluey filed his story on cnsnews.com, the traditional news media began to catch on. “Just a few minutes after my story was posted on our website,” Bluey adds, “the Drudge Report [an online news service run by webmaster Matt Drudge] linked to it, shining a huge spotlight on the report.”
More investigative pressure from independent bloggers and forensic typeface experts forced Rather and CBS to backtrack. On September 20, 2004, Dan Rather stated, “If I had known then what I know now, I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.” Such is the power of bloggers like Bluey.
Rob Bluey is an example of how convictions can combine with a first-rate education to produce opportunities to be on the cutting edge of the communications field. Ithaca College and the Park School of Communications are never far from Bluey’s mind in his job as director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “It’s safe to say I may have never come to Washington had it not been for the encouragement and help of my professors at Ithaca,” Bluey says.
Hands-on work is the hallmark of a good college experience. “What was great about Ithaca was that I got to do so much off campus as well,” he remembers. “I spent one summer in Traverse City, Michigan, as a newspaper copy editor and also worked at the Los Angeles Times during the 2000 presidential election, a great experience that I’ll never forget.
“The opportunities I had on and off campus, as well as the great connections I made with other students, have been a tremendous help throughout my career,” Bluey adds. College is the key that opens the door to global conversation, and the Park School at Ithaca College has an eye toward the future. Here at Ithaca, you can ask yourself: How will you change the world?
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Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.