Another Look at Blogging

When bloggers aren’t chasing the same political story, they’re gazing into their collective navels on the subject of blogging.

Prolific Chris Graham of the Augusta Free Press recently did a widely linked story on Virginia blogging’s potential impact on this fall’s election, including interviews with John Behan and Rick Sincere. A companion piece should be this Jack Schaefer article in Slate. Schaefer, who’s been in the media criticism business longer than any blogger, praises blogs for opinion writing and compares them to mainstream journalists this way:

To stretch a manufacturing analogy, unsalaried bloggers represent low-cost Chinese laborers, professional journalists the well-paid-with-benefits American workers. Given the right tools and infrastructure, low-cost Chinese labor can produce work that is every bit the equal of the high-price kind. What the Web has done is remove the barriers to entry from opinion journalism, much to the benefit of readers.


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Comments

  1. Becky Dale Avatar
    Becky Dale

    Euguene Volokh has a summary on the value and best uses of blogs:
    http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2005_04_03-2005_04_09.shtml#1113000593

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    At present, the MainStream Media (MSM) has one huge advantage over blogs: Newspapers support staffs of full-time writers whose job it is to cultivate resources, dig up content, filter through the facts and write a readable narrative. In Virginia, almost all bloggers are gainfully employed in other jobs. Inevitably, their content is derivative: limited to responding to articles and editorials published by the MSM.

    Here in Virginia, it has been rare for a blogger to break news. Chris Graham at the Augusta Free Press may be the only one to claim to have done so.

    What Virginia bloggers can do, at this point in time, is critique the news and shape the spin. We haven’t gotten to the point yet where we can decide, through the volume of our commentary, what constitutes a valid news story. But, then, we’re probably two years behind the national trend. Given how Virginia-centric blogging has exploded in the past half year, we may become a force even sooner. Inevitably, our collective power will grow. But until we can figure out how to generate a revenue stream and support full-time staff writers whose job it is to create original content (as opposed to derivative content), we will never supplant the MSM.

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