The takeover of mainstream media by large corporations has had two devastating effects. Most obvious is the editorial control that the corporations have exercised over their properties, but I think a bigger problem is the resulting fiscal control. The need to control costs and increase profits has led to a media that can afford to do little more than repeat talking points fed to them, while doing little or no original work or investigative journalism. If you believe that a vibrant media is essential to a vibrant democracy, then this is clearly a disaster.
One of the biggest things I enjoy about running this blog (which takes a massive amount of time for pretty much no pay) is the community that has grown up around it. It often surprises me that I have not needed to install controls on comments like many websites have, but the level of discourse remains largely friendly and informative. On the other hand, it does bother me that I don’t have the resources to do original research or investigative journalism.
Which is why I’m enjoying watching the Daily Kos evolve from a (vibrant) blogging community, into what might become the future of news in this country. For example, consider this video on DailyKosTV from Jed Lewison (who many of you may remember from the election for the excellent blog The Jed Report). Lewison is able to easily debunk a blatant lie from Fox News:
In addition, DailyKos is now doing their own polls (just like a “real” newspaper!).
So what do you think? Can blogging communities become the new sources of hard news when the mainstream (corporate) media withers and dies?
Incidentally, the media problem is not limited to the US — two mainstream Bangladeshi newspapers reprinted an article they took from The Onion, not realizing that it was a satirical website.
UPDATE: Another viewpoint on the Future of News — Why I Love Al Jazerra — brilliantly written, too.