I live in the birthplace of the American space program. Yesterday I watched the X-prize winning flight of SpaceShipOne on the computer streamed from space.com while every local station broadcast irrelevancies of pop culture (eg, Regis and Kelly interviewing the main guy from a Bravo show). To wit, the major news broadcast networks have become entertainment driven by ad revenues. History in real time comes to us over the Internet. Having grown up watching every flight from Mercury to the latest Soyuz flights, this is a bit disappointing.
Blogs aren’t news. But news isn’t news either these days. The two most prominent victims of the web revolution have been scholarship and now journalism. As we keep looking for more novel ways to shred the natch, the web looks more like the atmosphere: ubiquitous but a very thin layer.
My tenet is that anything can be news so long as it is expedient and viewed as such by the ‘viewer’. This is the distinction between news as a product (big media) and content, information, and diatribe. Blogs can contain news but they aren’t solely a news vehicle. What is really disappointing – and I Len makes this point well – is that reporting of news that doesn’t fit with the mainstream news product or economics is increasingly being left to professional amateurs – and sometimes professional journalists who are using their own product. Which might be a good thing. A really good thing.
That’s classic Boltzman entropy; information is addressable or isn’t. Information isn’t knowledge. Triangulation is a good way to put it. The abdication of responsibility by the networks, and the intensely localized and indiscriminate blogging has made the ability to discriminate priceless and personal. It’s been repeated so many times as to be almost noise now, but the problem isn’t choosing but how choices are chosen. We now have networks like Fox that select and tailor to a particular political point of view, and a dammed narrow one, yet the distribution power is such that it becomes the chooser of choices.
Blogs like web pages require selectivity. The neighborhood effect kicks in. The web can make us goofy. Who has time to read enough? Who can afford not to? The problem of very high rates of feedback is destabilization.
One of the things that consistently amazes me about blogging (other than the fact that people actually read my blog) is that people way smarter than me take the time to pen me thoughts and responses that are hugely educational and illuminating. Thanks!