Friday, October 31, 2003

Craptacular Media

As Tristero notes, the fact that it takes some underfunded dude with a website to realize that you can easily un-redact redacted .pdf files should embarrass the hell out of our professional media.

Aside from all of the normal complaints about media bias, lazyness, etc... we do have a serious problem. Beltway journalism has simply become a battle of the quotes. One of the complaints that journalists make about bloggers is that they aren't doing real journalism. Sure, most of the stuff on this website is simply links to news stories with commentary. But, some of it is actual journalism - just not the kind of journalism that is commonly practiced today.

What I, and most (but not all) bloggers, don't do is get quotes from official sources. No senior administration officials here. But, what we do manage to do sometimes is come up with timely and revealing information which is relevant to current events. Journalists have a bias against "old news" - that is, if it was ever published somewhere, anywhere, it isn't "news." This makes the only "new" news either breaking news events, press releases, or new quotes from important people. That's a rather limited view of what journalism is.

There are of course great exceptions to this. A fairly recent one which comes to mind was the study done by OC Register who demonstrated that a local power company was likely gaming the system in California by using EPA emissions data to demonstrate the timing of electricity production.

Anyway, I'm not one who thinks that blogs will save the world - but I do think that bloggers are more likely to do the type of research that reporters largely avoid.

Someone wrote many of these same points recently - I believe it was in a letter to Romanesko, but I can't find it now...