if we see blogs in terms of conversations (a much overhyped metaphor as of late) what are the implications for journalism, now undergoing a transformation at the hands of bloggers?
not only does blogging enable subject matter experts to bypass a journalist middleman/woman, it also allows non-experts (i.e. the rest of us) to post what essentially amount to as requests for comment. usually they follow the form, “i think this, that, and the other” optionally followed by “anyone have any thoughts?”.
the blog’s readers (who may themselves be bloggers) then have an opportunity to respond, either by posting links to supporting or refuting sources or by furthering the discussion on other blogs in the form “blockquote, response”. this can go on ad infinitum, which certainly represents the bursty and asynchronous flow of information better than the daily new cycle.
the mainstream media derides non-expert bloggers but really they only represent the beginning of the process, the start of the conversation. other bloggers gather information, check facts and sources, question or explain the content. a certain few blogs and aggregators (boingboing, slashdot, blogdex, technorati, etc.) act as central information hubs, disseminating the latest and greatest and keeping people up-to-date.
the truth is that there isn’t only one type of blogger and no single blogger represents one and only one type. we are all writers, fact checkers, editors, reporters, paperboys/girls (connectors) to varying degrees with every post we post.
so while i’ve said bloggers should be asking themselves, “how can we be more like journalists?”, journalists should be asking, “how can the news be more like a conversation?”