Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Democratization of Journalism

When Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court last spring, I thought amusingly that I should write a blog about how hard it is for mothers to become Supreme Court justices.  At the time I was probably busy being sick (which incidentally has not really deterred my hero, Justice Ginsberg, from serving), so I let that blog idea slide.  Within a week or so, there was an article, which I cannot find now, that addressed my thought with the appropriate stats about how competitive it is for younger women lawyers now and almost impossible to rise to the top in law if you are a mother.  Then came the articles calling for a mother on the Supreme Court, e.g the one in the Washington Post.  Today, with Kagan's confirmation imminent, the issue has been examined again in the NYTimes, again with stats showing the difficulty for mothers to make it in business.

All of this leads me to think more about the role of blogs and what appears to me to be the democratization of journalism.  More than once, I have blogged about an issue that later appears in MSM as an article.  I have seen it happen in other blogs.  And some times, blogs present information that MSM does not even cover. Witness the front page article in Time Magazine this week and the critiques of its message in blogs.

My point is that with the internet and so many smart and educated people blogging, some news stories in MSM are behind the times.  Of course, there are still stories for those news outlets that can afford them where the correspondent travels internationally and writes on topics not readily available to the masses on the internet.  But unfortunately those stories seem to be becoming rarer.  And to the extent that blogs rely on sources from the internet rather than investigative journalism, there is always the problem of accuracy of those sources.  So as in governance, democratization may lead to less excellent results.

And, as irony would have it, someone, perhaps Jay Rosen, has probably already written about this issue, in more depth and with more thoughtfulness. I do, after all, have a day job.  And children.  And grandchildren.

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