New Media’s Role in Today’s Political Arena

Time.com | The Beltway-Blog Battle by James Poniewozik | link

All too often new media joyfully announces the death of old world reporting. In reality new and old media are discovering new cooperative roles in the quest of the next big story. Mr. Poniewozik’s piece gives numerous examples of how new style “blog” type reporting is changing the political game. The piece emphasizes that the political scene is now teeming with independent voices that don’t necessarily adhere to the long standing journalistic practices or expectations. In many ways this is a positive development for the American public but I suspect as we blur the lines between blogs and news that the public will reward integrity and ethics. However never under estimate the public’s appetite for the latest juicy story.

Traditional reporters were aghast at Fowler’s methods–the Obama meeting was closed to press (she got in as a donor), and Fowler did not identify herself when speaking to Clinton. But mainstream media had no problem treating the scoops as big news; if she had overheard both quotes in the same way but told them to a newspaper instead of publishing them, that would have been considered a coup.

The case against Fowler, in other words, was about process and credentials, not content. If sources stop trusting us, reporters asked, how will we do our jobs? But however sneaky her methods, Fowler’s stories prove that one reason sites like Huffington have an audience is the perception that Establishment journalism has gotten better at serving its powerful sources than its public. Fiascoes like the Iraq-WMD reporting gave many the impression that the old rules mainly protect consultant-cosseted public officials who need protection least.

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