Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The birth of bloggers

Via Intapundit, a nice lengthy analysis on the evolution of the mainstream media and its relationship with the blogosphere. A few excerpts:
Up until the Reagan years, Love says, “definitely fewer than one hundred people, and maybe as few as twenty people, actually decided what constituted national news in the United States.”
I tried to make this point a few years back, before I transferred to Blogger, by noting how many people are on editorial staff at WaPo, the NYT's, AP and Reuters. It's a small amount relative to the influence.
Journalism by consensus remained essentially unchallenged until President Ronald Reagan—arguably the most media-savvy president in American history— repealed the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine in 1987. That opened the door for “talk radio.”
And entered Rush Limbaugh, the only conservative in broadcast, albeit AM radio.
But talk radio was not the only challenger to the entrenched MSM. Also in 1994, a program called Mosaic Netscape 0.9 was released. This allowed personal computer owners to access the then-nascent World Wide Web
Was it only in 1994? So much has changed since then.
Around that time, a few journalists of varying ideologies—including Virginia Postrel, then editor of the libertarian Reason magazine; “New Democrat” Mickey Kaus; former liberal New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan; and center-right James Lileks of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune—began building on Matt Drudge’s example and launched their own self-published “e-zines”.
And then of course, Sept. 11. Just like me, millions of other Americans couldn't access MSM outlets and found Instapundit among other bloggers.
As a result, says James Lileks, “we don’t have an overculture anymore.” He adds that “people are no longer having to stifle their own interests in order to absorb mass culture. In the old days, they used to create their own communities by very low-tech means: fanzines, Star Trek convention clubs, things like that. But now, you can find like-minded individuals all over the place, and half of them seem to be creating content in the exact genre that you like.”
That's an interesting observation, particularly in a world that is increasingly generic due to the proliferation of mass corporate success. The rest of this article remains interesting and brings up Rathergate (it's always brought up) as evidence of the power of the blogosphere. I agree with Glenn Reynolds's comments that the MSM should do what it does best, which is gather information. A blogger in Flower Mound can't very well tell you about a fire in New York. On the other hand, a reporter in New York (or in a hotel in the Green Zone) can't very well tell you about a fire in Fallujah , and I wish they'd stop trying.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous cassandra said...

I keep trying to remember when I did this and that with computers. I think I first went on the internet in 1995 via AOL. Local bulletin boards by dialup before that.

And blogs: I distinctly remember reading Andrew Sullivan where he wrote "I'm going to try this new 'blog' thing and see how it works out" or whatever. That had to be 1999.

It seems like eons ago, doesn't it?

8:45 PM  
Anonymous allan said...

The good old days meant 300 baud modulation demodulation devices that worked whenever you got the DOS driver set up with just the right parameters. World Wide Web? You were lucky to get a BB admin guy to even acknowledge you if you weren't part of his posse. When the 56k modems came out it was like a launch of Halo.

11:20 PM  
Blogger David N. Scott said...

Wow. Twelve years. `course, I was a bit of an early adopters with BBSes, like Cassandra. But still... they weren't nothin' like th' web.

11:58 PM  

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