Saturday, January 06, 2007

Blogging as a reporting tool

Former print reporter Justin Rood is working these days as a blogger at TPMMuckraker, a spin-off of the popular liberal blog Talking Points Memo. He writes a piece for CBS here that describes the transition, and what his new medium means.

It has some useful insights, though I'd caution that Rood tends to conflate his particular experience with blogging in general, a generalization that doesn't work for me. He bemoans the necessity of being constantly on duty so as not to miss the momentary "scoops" of the blogosphere. Yawn. (For a fine example of blogging that isn't driven by that evanescent impulse, I'd recommend Eric Black and The Big Question at

The most intriguing of Rood's observations is his description of how important his readers have become as sources and tipsters. As with Dan Gillmor's initial insight years ago as a Silicon Valley reporter ("My readers always knew more than I did.") this is evidence of the real power inherent in the distributed reporting model.

The same was true in the old days, as well. I always knew that in the days after publication of a big scoop, I'd learn things from readers that I wished I had known before. But following up on our once-daily publication schedule lacked the timeliness or ability to iterate that's available in blogs. There is power here for reporting as we learn to harness it better.
–Howard Weaver

No comments:

Post a Comment