Losing the News, a new book by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Alex Jones, quickly became the number one priority on my reading list. "Alex’s thesis," writes Diane Francis, "is simply that the implosion of the business model for traditional print and broadcast media is creating a vacuum in the type of news gathering, analysis or revelatory investigation which is in the public interest."
We are certainly losing the news in its previous form. Now, the ability to click away changes the reader's behavior. A blogger's specific geography and experience challenge an increasing number of newspaper articles. Not to mention the difference between the advertising models of print and online media.
Alex also distinguishes bloggers from journalists by several abilities among which "bearing witness" to an event and "following up." With this one I will have to disagree. Blogging and social media are all about bearing witness to events that others haven't seen or cannot see, whether the story takes place in a northeastern Bulgarian village or on Park Street, New York.
Bloggers also have the potential to craft follow-up stories. Many writers in the blogosphere are passionate about the issues they cover and have concentrated on specific fields like healthcare, politics and entertainment. Willingly selecting what to write about, they show passion and seek answers. This usually means they will want to follow up.
Yet the concern such thoughts raise in my mind have to do with the source's objectivity. There is a lot more space for skewed opinions and biased blog articles. There is a lot more space for moderation of comments. There is a less developed (or more likely nonexistent) ethics system in the blogosphere.
In the midst of a series of ethical concerns that need to be addressed soon, one question stands out as most urgent: copyright issues. As Alex writes, “ The free riders are using content that they don’t create to build juggernauts of Web advertising power while the originators of the content are struggling.”