Chris Mooney, co-founder of one of the best blogs (Tapped), has a nice story about the history and impact of blogging.
All of which suggests the complementary, rather than alternative, role of blogging with respect to mainstream media. The central virtue of blogging, I’ve decided, is that in the proverbial agora, or online marketplace of ideas, bloggers are like Socrates on speed.
They’re constantly interrogating arguments and points of view, noting flaws, advancing more sound positions, and shifting the focus to new questions. The mainstream media are being watched more closely because of bloggers — and kept more honest — and that can’t be a bad thing.
But I think that he misses one of the most important uses of blogs — which is simply the collection and redistribution of information. Bloggers are like information DJ’s who sort through all the stories other people don’t have time to read. The internet makes it possible to read thousands of different news sources a day — but who has the time? Blogging is the answer to this problem, helping people break out of the “daily paper” habit without having to read ten times as much! In this sense blogs like Cursor really stand out. I personally don’t care for much of the more verbose blogs who just add “spin” without much substance. Although some do find a nice balance, like Atrios, or Tom Tomorrow.