As a person who works to represent the customer point-of-view in advertising, I have celebrated the entry of the weblog as the advent of the voice of the consumer becoming an active part of much larger conversations. I lauded the "little guy" having an 'equal' chance to voice his or her opinion along with those "big guys" who have controlled the conversation in the media for centuries.
However, as a graduate of a journalism school, I concurrently (there's a big-word-- thanks for the journalism education, Mom!) wondered whether or not the new flux of ideas would crowd out the trusted and extraordinarily well-trained voices that had been accurately and evenly reporting to the nation for centuries.
At its smallest, blogging allows for the free expression of an individual's thoughts and feelings with self and others. At its largest, it allows for a discourse of ideas that have potential to create critical mass around items that never might have had an opportunity to surface otherwise. Over the past years, blogging has lived up to its largest potential, and is now considered a force to be rekoned with instead of dismissed. The "Dan Rather Incident" and other canary-in-the-cave moments brought blogs credibility as investigative whistle-blowers, quicker to the punch than mainstream media news. Now, extremely popular news blogs like Huffington Post are ready by about 4 million Americans a month, and thereby are considered practically mainstream media news. These developments have brought many to a point of asking: is blogging the new news?
(And if it is, does that make Tweeting the new blogging, or vlogging is the new blogging, or...)
Andrew Sullivan is a true pioneer of blogging, and he's still one of the best. He traded in the moment-by-moment commentary of the blog recently to analyze blogging in long form, in "Why I Blog," a piece that is part of The Atlantic magazine this month.
In this incredibly thoughtful piece, Sullivan debunks some popular myths about blogging. And then, he shows why blogging is complementary to-- and even enhances, traditional journalism. (He does this through the avenue of a traditional journalism piece-- using the writing process of the magazine article to draw his points about differences between the written piece and a digital blog.)
I'm now convinced that the analogy of blogging to traditional journalism is like microwave to traditional oven -- both standard in every kitchen and complimentary to one another. I think you will be, too, if you read the brilliant article by Sullivan: