Blogs Make the News

“In May, when pro-Palestinian activists attacked a group of Hillel students at San Francisco State University, the national press took no notice; there was a small mention in the May 12 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, nothing more. But bloggers — led by Richmond, Virginia, freelance writer Meryl Yourish — piled on the story…. On May 14, blogger James Lileks mentioned it in a nationally syndicated newspaper column for the Newhouse News Service. Five days later, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, all followed suit with their own articles.” Noah Shachtman

[It’s good to see an article that moves beyond “bloggers are warmongering bottom feeders who enjoy tweaking liberal journalists,” but such articles are still rare in mainstream journalism. The blurb on Wired’s main page, but not found in the article itself, contains the best insight: “It’s been said that newspapers write the first draft of history, but now there are blogs. These days, online scribes often get the news before it’s fit to print.” –DGJ]

I really ought to create some kind of comment feature for this weblog, but Steve Himmer from OnePotMeal writes:
“In a similar story, over the weekend I heard an interview on NPR’s BBC newshour with Danny Schechter of It was about the role of blogs in pushing the Trent Lott story to the media forefront, and ultimately pushing Lott out. All of these stories, I hope, portend some interesting relationships between mainstream and blogstream media in the future. In an unrelated comment about serendipity, I realized recently that I’ve been bumping up against your writing for a while now without realizing that Dennis Jerz of Interactive Fiction circles is the same as Dennis Jerz of this literacy blog. And then, by another completely circuituous route, I came across your writing again while doing research on grammar and gender. There’s probably something to say in all that about the power of blogs and the web to make unexpected connections and provide multiple routes to discovery and exploration, but I imagine I’d just be stating the obvious to say so.”

Blogs Make the NewsWired)

The Wired article quotes an academic who criticizes the weblog community for being self-absorbed, but the truth is that if you have an electronic audience, it’s easier and more useful to comment on (and link to) other online texts. Steve’s observation that he and I have bumped against each other in three different venues suggests that webloggers aren’t that isolated after all. But new blogging tools mean that people who wouldn’t otherwise have an online presence (as I do via my curricular website and my involvement in the interactive fiction community) can easily get an online presence through their weblogs.