Digital Journal — Stephen Colbert, the tycoon of “truthiness,” is once again embracing the popularity of citizen journalism by launching a blog featuring rumoured stories and bogus news tips.
During his show last night, comedian and late-night TV host Stephen Colbert unveiled a new website during his segment “The Word.” IntegrityJustice.com, will be based on what everyday people submit, whether it be half-truths, outright lies or entertaining info. Picture The Onion meets Fark.
As Colbert said last night, “We don’t have one trained journalist on staff… Nation, if you have a substantial news tip that deserves investigation, take it somewhere else.” The caustic comedian then instructed his loyal followers to send him stories based on rumours, essentially mocking a recent Fox News story about Senator Barack Obama’s supposedly joining an Islamic school as a child. Fox based the story on unnamed sources from the online-only Insight Magazine.
As of this writing, IntegrityJustice.com is merely a bare page encouraging visitors to click a link to send story tips to ColbertNation.com’s webmaster. Early today, the site was still not active. Comedy Central spokesperson Steve Albani told DigitalJournal.com the site has “experienced a minor glitch, which [Comedy Central] is working to fix.”
Once the site goes live, expect a mountainous response from the millions of fans who watch The Colbert Report religiously. But let’s not forget what other demographic Colbert is hoping to attract: bloggers and citizen journalists. He declared, “If you’re in new media, and you see something on my site that sounds good, don’t hesitate. Post it on your own blog and then I’ll report your story as corroborating my story on my TV show.”
He’s no fool — embracing the ever-growing blogosphere will only further legitimize the comedian in the eyes of Netizens worldwide. Interactivity and marrying television with the Internet is the name of the game in TV 2.0, and Colbert is nicely following up from his green-screen challenge from last year. Mainstream media’s embrace of the Web shows how TV is seriously having to rethink its tactics to keep viewers glued to the tube.
But let’s not forget the launch of IntegrityJustice.com is also a cheeky attack on citizen journalists. Colbert is mocking the disputed credibility of certain blogs by filling his own blog with outrageous lies and unverified rumours. He even invites other sites to strengthen these faux-facts by posting them on their sites, thereby creating a cycle of lies only the most gullible would believe. (Can you smell a defamation suit coming?)
So that brings us to DigitalJournal.com — known as a credible source for breaking news, especially when users submit links to substantiate their posts. But there are a number of blogs on the Net that will print anything to grab eyeballs. So is Colbert mocking citizen journalist sites, or celebrating them? Is he actually doing a disservice to user-powered communities or is he supporting them?
However you view IntegrityJustice.com, one thing is certain: The site’s popularity will rocket to unbelievable heights simply based on the star wattage of Stephen Colbert. Anything he touches turns to 24-carat gold.
Now that’s he joining the blog-news fray, the Internet is welcoming another forum for opinionated current affairs that will surely entertain people by the millions.