Blogs Colliding With Traditional Media

Convention credentials expected for Weblogs

| May 13, 2004

The tide is shifting. Corporate-owned newspapers and television channels whose editorial positions are controlled by their economic interests are no longer the only sources of news for truth-seeking readers. So, toss Fox News and USA Today out the window, and let in the bloggers. These passionate, young, would-be journalists/activists/watchdogs who often spend countless hours every day contributing to their own weblogs now make up 5 percent of the 128 million Internet-using American adults. A whopping 17 percent call themselves blog readers, writes Loanna Weiss in The Boston Globe. When it comes to the communication world, blogging is the new black, and getting more and more stylish by the day.

Lately, bloggers have been reaching for the next threshold in their quest to gain acknowledgement in the journalism world. As Weiss writes, a handful of the 15,000 coveted credentials to the Democratic National Convention in Boston in late July will go to bloggers -- some of which, like the popular liberal site attract 150,000 readers every day. Its author, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, 32, calls credentials 'a way to promote the blogosphere as a new and genuine and legitimate media outlet.' But these cyber-pioneers face an uphill battle in some circles. For instance, Weiss writes, the somewhat old-fashioned House of Representatives Press Gallery, which takes the first look at credential requests for both conventions, 'decided that independent blogs do not fit their standards of 'media,' and passed their applications down the ladder a rung, to the convention staffs that handle credentials for student and weekly papers.'

Granted, the differences between blogs and traditional media outlets are striking. Weiss continues: 'Outside of their links to stories from the conventional press, blogs tend to have little independent reporting, and more stream-of-consciousness commentary and analysis. They are often fiercely partisan, and post links to parties' and candidates' fund-raising operations.' Unlike corporate interests, what drives bloggers is their passion, as many spend countless hours linking to each other, thereby meticulously spinning the world of independent media into one giant web that not even corporate tycoon Rupert Murdoch can tear down.
-- Jacob Wheeler

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