Here’s a round-up of a few year-end stories on this, the last day of 2004:
No one blog can cover everything and many blogs, such as ours, deal primarily in opinion. But one can envisage a blogosphere that readers rely on to obtain essentially everything they now get from a newspaper or a newscast. The basic facts of a story would come from links to news services. The analysis would come from specialized blogs or non-specialized blogs that happen to have expertise in the subject area. The op-ed type opinions would come from the opinion blogs. I actually think we’re pretty close to having such a blogosphere, although that’s clearly a matter for debate.
Thus, the blogosphere is likely to replace the MSM for a growing number of consumers. Many others will continue to check out the MSM, but regard it much more skeptically (that is, take it much less seriously) than they have done in the past. It will be up to the MSM to decide whether it wishes to respond to these developments by undertaking radical change.
Finally, Peggy Noonan notes the hubris of journalists who write big “year in review” stories in mid-December, on the assumption that it’s going to be a slow month and all of the big events of the year can safely be wrapped up (you know, like me):
The biggest story of the year happened just as big-thinking journalists went on vacation after filing their “Ten Biggest Stories of 2004” pieces. Life has a way of surprising us.
I thought the other day of Harrison Salisbury, and his response when asked what he’d learned after a lifetime as a reporter. “Expect the unexpected,” he said. And of course we do, in the abstract, but when a story like this comes along in the particular, with maybe 80,000 dead, maybe more, we are aghast. And should be. Call it the force of nature or the hand of God or both; call it geological inevitability or the oldest story in the world (life is tragic) reasserting itself on a broader-than-usual level–however you see the earthquake and the tsunami, it reminds you that man is not in charge.