While most blogs remains relatively unknown, there’s little denying nowadays that a number of high-profile bloggers are getting noticed – and not just in the blogosphere. For example, Huffington Post and Instapundit are two blogs that are actually challenging the mainstream media.
Not only are these blogs attracting more and more readers, newsmakers now consider them legitimate sources of news. In fact, bloggers are increasingly granted press credentials for major news events. Bloggers are now part of the White House Press Corps.
As you can imagine, this has created a certain amount of friction between bloggers and reporters from traditional media outlets. The tension between the two sides was evident this week, as noted by CNN’s Reliable Sources. “The President has called on bloggers in the past but Obama seemed to be aware of the nature of Pitney’s question, which the blogger had solicited from Iranians via the internet, before he even asked it,” according to CNN.com
If it’s true that Obama’s camp had contacted Nico Pitney, a reporter for Huffington Post, a day prior to the press conference to orchestrate the exchange between Pitney and the President, then I have serious issues with that.
However, I bring up this case not to highlight what took place prior to the press conference, but rather to show how bloggers are now being taken seriously. Years ago, many might have laughed at the possibility of the President calling on a blogger during a news conference.
As my professor in one of my graduate courses has noted, “blogs are driving the agenda of the news media more than they do actually report out original news. They are doing both, of course, but a major role blogs play in our information society is to shape what is being covered or how the news is being covered.”
A watershed moment for bloggers came in 2002 when many of them took Trent Lott to task for his comments about how the country would be better off if Strom Thurmond had won his segregationist campaign. While mainstream media overlooked the comments, bloggers drew attention to them. So much attention that media outlets finally gave the story the coverage it warranted.
Bloggers and journalists from traditional media outlets, play nice.