Blogs as Mass Media

People have been tossing around the possibility that blogging might be the next “mass media” to emerge for a long time now. Most recently, Bene Diction pointed out a column by geek political analyst John C. Dvorak about the phenomenon:

Let me stop here for a moment and make some specific predictions. Within the next year, both David Letterman and Jay Leno will make jokes about blogs and even discuss them. “Nightline” will do an entire show on blogging.

Do I think that blogs can become mainstream? Absolutely. I’ve only been blogging for a little while, but I’ve been reading blogs much, much longer, and I believe that blogs have the potential to one day surpass mainstream media in the current arena of competition among the media – news analysis and commentary.

The characteristic definition for a blog has been a frequently-updated page with dated entries, newest entries on top. This definition is very broad; it covers everything from diaries to blogs maintained by traditional media outlets, such as Christianity Today. In this entry, I’m only going to be referring to bloggers who are more or less freelance news commentators.

Traditional media is in a pretty secure position. They have a network of reporters worldwide, contracts with news syndicators like Associated Press and Reuters, and lots of cash on hand. There’s two places where blogs might be able to get their collective foot in the door – deadlines and space.

Continue reading

He’s Real

Peter Maass, a columnist over at Slate, has conclusively (in my mind, at least) answered a question that has been floating all over the blogosphere: Salam Pax is real.

Salam Pax, an Iraqi who’s been blogging the war first-hand at Where is Raed?, has been the subject of much speculation, among bloggers and traditional media alike.

Speculations included the possibility that the blog was propaganda from the CIA or the Mukhabarat, or that Salam was nothing but a hoax. People throughout the ‘net worried about his welfare when he suddenly stopped blogging as the war began. The Guardian, which has hired Salam to write a bi-weekly column, reports that there were times that his loss of Internet access made him wonder whether officials were on to him. Although Diana Moon (via Google), Salam’s friend, believed he was real, most people took this with a grain of salt.

I’m glad you’re okay, Salam. I have a feeling I’ll be reading more of your work now that I know you’re legit.

Link via such small hands (June 3rd; permalinks broken).