Warblog - Description and Origins

Description and Origins

Warblogs first appeared during the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and attained maturity during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. While some warblogs arise out of and are directly limited in their coverage to the war in question, others expand their coverage to related political, social and cultural issues and continue commentating beyond the end of the war. Likewise, blogs that ordinarily cover non-war issues may dedicate their coverage during a time of war to the conflict, with some reverting to their previous missions at the end of the war, and others retaining their new character.

The term "Warblog" was coined by Matt Welch, who launched his warblog on September 17, 2001.

The term "MilBlog" was coined by JP of Milblogging.com, during his combat tour in Iraq. It describes a blog primarily focused on the events of the military, written about by those with inside knowledge of the military, whether an active soldier, a veteran of the military, a spouse of a soldier, or a civilian with a special connection to the military.

""MilBlogs" (Military Blogs) began to share stories, mostly because they didn't get reported. Matt Burden of Black Five began what has become the biggest (by readership) MilBlog because the main stream media didn't even report the passing of his friend in combat. He decided not only would the name of Army Maj. Mathew E. Schram wouldn't be forgotten, but the regular fare of the early days of Black Five were the "Someone You Should Know" category of posts. Over the years, some living, some casualties of war, all placed on the web, so they would not be forgotten. Matt wasn't alone, and about 6 years ago, there were about 200 MilBlogs."

Unlike, most blogs which discussed normal (or abnormal) routines of the authors, milblogs were writing to correct the story:

"In the case of military bloggers, several began blogs because they were unhappy with mainstream media coverage of the wars in Afghanistan, and particularly, Iraq. Consequently military blogs often criticised mainstream media coverage (and they still do). But rather than merely sniping from the sidelines they have become media players in their own right. To cast their relationship with the rest of the media merely as oppositional does not do justice to the complex picture that is emerging."
"This blog started out as a way to write about military related issues. It turned into a way for Bouhammer to document his 16 month tour as an ETT leader in Afghanistan for family and friends."

For Matt Burden, of Blackfive.net, a specific event sparked his motivation to fill the media void. His personal friend was killed protecting a journalist, but that valor was not noted by the world of journalism.

"I started Blackfive and decided to write about Mat and other Americans like him - people that the media would never tell you about."
"I have found a way to keep the American People informed without endangering our Troops or Monday Morning Quarterbacking our Generals. I deal in facts...We are real people with real experiences and provide this information as an educational service to the American People who wish to know the true story of Iraq and Afghanistan"

Other milblogs have similar explanations for their motivations.

In short, the objective of milblogs was to report the news that they did not feel the mainstream media was reporting.

Though the U.S. Department of Defense initially opposed milblogs as a potential OPSEC violation, it eventually embraced the concept and attempted to implement official versions of milblogs. Official milblogs did not receive the same reception or popularity of the unofficial milblogs as they were written in the same dull language as other official publications of the Defense Department.

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