John on January 1, 2012 at 11:52 am
The old argument that news had been democratized by the ease of publication on the web (WordPress, Movable Type) tended to overlook the fact that news still had to be gathered from somewhere. News still relied on boots on the ground in faraway places. But increasingly that’s changing too. The sources for a lot of this information are public places on the web. And that means bloggers have as much access to those sources as traditional reporters.
In fact, in many cases bloggers are better at getting this information than traditional sources which still haven’t realized the web itself is fast becoming the most important news beat. The internet infrastructure (You Tube, Twitter, Internet Archive) which is the natural environment for bloggers is becoming a source of news content for the traditional media. Case in point this latest Reuters report on events in Syria:
Syria is one of the big international stories happening right now and yet Reuters, one of the world’s largest news gathering operations, is taking their news from You Tube, just like a blogger might. In fact, this is the 2nd or 3rd video on Syria which has been based on information posted to You Tube. Similar coverage took place during the recently contested Russian elections.
Another example? Last week the Wall Street Journal ran a major political story based on information it gleaned from the internet archive. That’s the kind of information bloggers usually dig up. It’s significant that the 2nd largest paper in the US is now following bloggers lead and assigning reporters to these non-traditional information sources.
I know this trend line has been visible for some time but it feels to me as if it has accelerated recently. As the advantages of a big organization continue to dwindle, I believe we’ll continue to see big media downsize and bloggers experience growth. That may be bad for big news outfits like Reuters, but it’s no longer the case that their steady decline means a loss of information to news consumers.
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