May 21, 2002

Attack of the Blogs
There's been a lot of mainstream press lately on blogging (Corante has got a complete list) ... and I don't think the press has it entirely right. Newsweek ran a story, "Will Blogs Kill Old Media?" -- San Antonio Express: "Are Media Being Blog-rolled?" The list goes on.

The real story isn't Bloggers vs Mass Media. It's really about bloggers and mass media, and how they will co-exist. The Newsweek article quotes Dave Winer as saying, "By 2007, more readers will get news from blogs than from The New York Times." I say without the New York Times blogs won't exist, and without recognizing blogs, the New York Times won't exist.

News media slowly allowed corporate powers to control their stories. Advertising, ratings, political correctness, cross promotion and corporate bias crept into the newsroom unchecked. Because there was no counter balance, it grew out of control. Blogging creates an equilibrium. The " unbespoken outsiders—impassioned lefties and righties, fine-print-reading wonks, indignant cranks and salt-’o-the-earth eyewitnesses to the 'real' life[er's]" will keep those giant media companies in check. Now maybe we can start trusting the news again, wherever it may come from.

Scott Rosenburg is thinking along the same lines in Salon:

Typically, the debate about blogs today is framed as a duel to the death between old and new journalism....

The rise of blogs does not equal the death of professional journalism. The media world is not a zero-sum game. Increasingly, in fact, the Internet is turning it into a symbiotic ecosystem -- in which the different parts feed off one another and the whole thing grows.

Weblogs -- which often consist of annotated links to media Web sites as well as to other blogs -- would barely be able to get by without the informational fodder provided by the mainstream media. Meanwhile, time-strapped reporters and editors in downsized, resource-hungry newsrooms are increasingly turning to blogs for story tips and pointers. No one has enough time to read everything on the Web; blogs offer a smart reader the chance to piggyback on someone else's reading time. Good journalists would be fools not to feed off blogs.

Weblogs expand the media universe. They are a media life-form that is native to the Web, and they add something new to our mix, something valuable, something that couldn't have existed before the Web....

It should be obvious that weblogs aren't competing with the work of the professional journalism establishment, but rather complementing it.

So what's mass media to do? I say, embrace blogging. Make it part of your entity. Or watch your entity disappear.

Or just listen what rageboy has to say (how does he do it? Speak with such honesty?) Great to see him back, btw. He's really been writing up a storm (here too).

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