Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Murdoch on Blogs

I am halfway through David Brin's Transparent Society, which is good, but not as good as I hoped. You can get all the ideas in this online post.

The book was written way back in 1999, and it's interesting to see how things have changed since then. A major theme is "accountability" and how greater reciprocal transparency can increase that accountability. In the US, the greatest forum for this seems to be blogs and the media.

Blogs, for all the online (and now offline) buzz they've generated, are not read by many people. But newspapers and news magazines are not read by many people either! Blogs have influence only because they are read by reporters, who in turn write regular magazines, and I don't think reporters are used to people saying that their articles are biased, uninformed, and sometimes poorly written.

Rupert Murdoch understands the influence blogs are having on media, and the changes in the media world that are coming as a result. Blogs are good at opinion (and occassionally, expert analysis), newspapers are good at gathering facts. Yet newspapers insist on embelishing facts with flabby opinions and amateur analysis, decreasing their quality. Quite frankly I have never been interested in the "are bloggers journalists?" question, mainly because I have no particular regard for journalism, but there is no question that newspapers read what bloggers are saying about them. The monopoly on ability to question and critisize is broken and is not coming back.


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