Monday, January 05, 2009

Are blogs the new MSM

'I do kind of chuckle when Glenn Reynolds, Drudge, Huffington, and Malkin start spouting off about MSM though…I mean at what point do we stop considering groups like PJ Media “New Media” and start treating them more like the Tribune Corp of the internet? Soon these kinds of Webring-one-voice organizations are going to have to realize they are the new MSM.'

I haven't spouted off much about this 'process' story concerning the relationship between blogs and the 'old' media like paper newspapers, paper magazines, radio and tv. Thats largely because it seems an artificial, sterile controversy. Nobody has to watch tv for their news. Nobody has to intake any news or current affairs at all. And if they choose to read news, does it matter whether its via a piece of newsprint or off a tft monitor? No.

Secondly, is a blog news? Very few blogs are news blogs. Thats because news requires reports, and reports require reporters, and reporters require salaries and facilities and training. There are a few blogs which are news blogs, like the hugely estimable Michael J Totten, but he and a few others are the exceptions which prove the rule. I would love to have a news blog- I'd love to have time to go and do primary story investigation and reveal some relevant truths. But I have a job and I just don't have the time.

Accumulator blogs like Instapundit are great for what they are, which is a series of links to other blogs and to news sources, indicating some interesting news or comment. They are like mind-maps of the individuals (or like Huffpo and Kos collections of people) who accumulate the links. And I guess there are hundreds of thousands of people who like how Glenn Reynolds thinks because every day they access his site. I am one of them.

I don't think we've discovered all the ways to use the web in relation to current affairs and news dissemination, so its still a very interesting period. I still think somebody should try a web newspaper, with properly vetted, properly salaried 'correspondents' in as many places round the world as possible- a Michal J Totten in every port, if you will. You would probably need an editorial board to adjudicate if a particular correspondents output was covertly biased or even propagandist. Overt bias is not a problem, as long as no lies are told and no material facts are suppressed. I hope somebody does this one day, and I hope they ask me to become a correspondent.

Anyway, my answer to the question 'Are groups like Pajamas Media the new MSM?' is no. PJM is a collection of pundits and opinion-mongers, and that is only one small function of the 'old' MSM. When PJM employs three thousand journalists (or any at all) like the BBC do, they will be the new MSM. But not until.

No comments: