Badger Blog Alliance

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Monday, March 02, 2009

Can bloggers fill the gap?

Charlie Sykes poses this interesting question...
"As newspapers shrink, the number of reporters covering local and state governments will shrink with them. Can the alternative media -- in particular bloggers -- fill the gap?

Sad to say, I'm as skeptical as this guy. Instead, I'm afraid we will see a shift of power and influence to insiders, who won't have to worry about the scrutiny of the unwashed and who will now be able to spin their version of reality more easily. Bloggers, after all, cannot opine on things that haven't been reported on in the first place.

Many bloggers say that far from being able to replace professional reporters, they actually suffer from the diminished flow of state news. "What I can't offer on my blogs is the relationships, the institutional memory, the why, the history that reporters who know the capital can bring to their stories," says Waldo Jaquith, who blogs on Virginia politics and runs a site,, that tracks every bill. "Newspapers can describe the candidates for governor in a more balanced, deeper way because you don't have a dog in the race. We bloggers do."" Source: CAN BLOGGERS FILL THE GAP? | Newsradio 620 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Talk, Sports, Weather | Charlie Sykes
My response? Not yet. As much as I'm enamored of the 'power of the press' that blogging brings, bloggers are currently lacking several key ingredients that the mainstream media enjoys:
  • Time
  • Focus
  • Money
Most bloggers -- even Charlie -- blog as an ancillary activity to their 'day job' and therefore lack the focus that a mainstream media journalist has to accomplish his/her objectives. For the same reason, money and other resources are an issue as well...

I'm fond of saying, though, that the solution is rarely either/or -- frequently it's a case of both and. Is it possible that in the future a 'team' of bloggers could fill the gap? Absolutely. Positively. What do you think?