Thursday, January 27, 2005

I suppose I'm a little late for the prize, but...

Jack Shafer doesn't get it.Only the naive expect the "top story" coverage to be overtaken by blogs, just as only the naive expected the blockbuster movie to be overtaken by "Porta-paks". There will always be room at the top level of exhaustive coverage for corporate media. The power and significance of blogs is their ability to generate coverage on topics that "Big Media" deems insignificant to its viewers (or to put it another way, topics that won't draw "Big Ratings"). Thus, the assertion receives top billing, but the retraction (see "Rathergate") gets a paragraph on page 12. The reason blogs are revolutionary is not just that new coverage is being generated by "citizen journalists", but that that journalism can reach an audience nearly as large as (and in many cases, larger than) the one "Big Media" reaches. Important news is being noticed by a mainstream audience even when it only appears in a soldier's personal diary in Mosul, or a one-line comment on ABC News' webpage regarding Trent Lott's comments on Strom Thurmond's failed 1948 run for President, or even an eyewitness account of an anti-terror demonstration from an Iraqi blogger that was ignored by the MSM because it doesn't fit the "quagmire" storyline. The story of blogs is not one of replacing the MSM, but extending the "long tail") so that media is less exclusive, and more democratic. And belittling that movement by directing his barbs at the particular representatives of blogging at a particular conference, (which could be compared to purporting "Tabouli Salad" as proof of the insignificance of amazon.com) only serves to demonstrate how deeply Shafer's ignorance lies.

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