Alternative Press

Blork writes about alternative newspapers, how they aren’t all that alternative, owned by big media and not what they used to be. All true, give it a read and don’t forget the comments.

His post started from this great article about blogging, how it delivers on the promise of the internet and how blogs are currently the equivalent of what independant papers used to be. It’s one of the best overview of blogging that I’ve seen yet. Covers pretty much everything, well written.

He does identify September 11th and the warbloggers as the turning point in “blog history”, the point where it reached critical mass and wider recognition. I’m not sure I agree, blogging did “make it big” around that time but I think warbloggers were just the latest wave, not the defining one. Those war freaks got a lot of press and often have high traffic but to me and to most every blogger I know, they are not what got them in this or what they read. The fact Reynolds gets 100 000 readers are however many it is is only one small component of the whole thing.

Just take a little time and get out of the normal series of blogs you might read and you will find hundreds, thousands of blog circles, groupings that happen because they have common interests, live close by, enjoy a particular blog and start “hanging out” in the comments, from there drifting to the other commenter’s blogs. However they form they are were people get interested in blogging and start doing it themselves.

Warbloggers form the small ecosystem that gets a lot of trafic, the one that found itself under the magnifying glass but the success and potential of blogging comes from all the other ecosystems, the ones people can feel close to and decide to be part off, not from one specific over exposed part.

Like I said, it’s one of the best pieces on the subject, it’s just too bad nearly all such pieces make a point to mention all the same pundits. I’d like to (but never will) know which is the egg and which is the chicken with those “stars”. Maybe there existence was the tipping point but I dont think so, maybe the whole blogging thing would have gotten attention anyway and some other group of blogs would have gotten the mentions. Who knows?

Anyway, I’m getting stuck on one point of the article, do read the whole thing and I especially agree with this part of the conclusion:

Are bloggers journalists? Will they soon replace newspapers?

The best answer to those two questions is: those are two really dumb questions; enough hot air has been expended in their name already.

A more productive, tangible line of inquiry is: Is journalism being produced by blogs, is it interesting, and how should journalists react to it? The answers, by my lights, are “yes,” “yes,” and “in many ways.” After a slow start, news organizations are beginning to embrace the form (see The Media Go Blogging). Tech journalists, such as the San Jose Mercury News’s Dan Gillmor, launched Weblogs long before “blogger” was a household word. Beat reporting is a natural fit for a blog reporters can collect standing links to sites of interest, dribble out stories and anecdotes that don’t necessarily belong in the paper, and attract a specific like-minded readership.