Blogging as Niche Journalism

Scott Rosenberg gave a timely talk last Friday at Stanford, addressing the issue of whether bloggers are journalists. He included the following statement about net neutrality, which topic old media definitely does not know how to cover:

This morning John Nichols said something that I want to repeat now: he said, “Most of the people who cover politics don’t know anything about net neutrality,” so the coverage is lousy. That’s quite an admission, I think. And it’s an example of a phenomenon that helps explain why so many blogs do such a better job covering niche subjects than the general news media does.

The phenomenon is this: There’s an inverse relationship between the amount of knowledge you have on a given topic and your level of satisfaction with the media coverage of that topic.

More simply: the better you know a subject the more you think its coverage stinks.

So this model is broken. We need to move the knowledge closer to the coverage. And the more inclusive our definition of journalist is, the more of that knowledge we can actually bring into the coverage.


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