It was believed at one point that the Net would democratize the media, offering many new voices, stories and perspectives. Yet the news agenda actually seems to be narrowing, with many Web sites primarily packaging news that is produced elsewhere, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s annual State of the News Media report. ^
This news tidbit never got the coverage it should have, if you ask me.
Go on to your favorite small blog. The person or persons who own it probably write a lot of things, but many focus on what’s going on currently.
They get that information from bigger blogs or other small blogs.
Those get it from other blogs.
When you follow the chain up to the top, there’s the New York Times, Wired, The Economist, The Atlantic, Salon, CNN, Slate, AP, UPI… big media.
They’re the ones with the resources to unleash trained writer-researchers (“journalists”) across a wide spectrum of knowledge, and process it all to determine what should go out the door.
Over the past few years, they’ve quietly retaken the web, because the web cannot generate its own news other than for local events. If there’s a Star Trek convention in town, I can write up a report on it. But how was I to know that rising grain prices predicated war in El Salvador?
The one thing they haven’t figured out how to do is profit from it. If they want other people to cite them, they must give content away; if the newspaper is free on the web, why buy it — it’s free. One business model might be giving it away only to other content producers, but then everyone will have a blog. You could give it away by number of hits produced in turn for the newspaper web site, and sell banner ads, but I think the web economists are just starting to figure out that people can ignore non-linear advertising.
Should be an interesting future for this issue as it gets resolved.