Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Effect of Blogs

In a question of blogs vs newspapers, I don't favor one over another. I think there's a time and place for both, but I am fascinated by the effect blogs have had, which is much more powerful than I would have guessed.

While catching up on Brad DeLong, I sadly discovered columnist Bruce Barlett is quitting his column and citing blogs as a major reason for doing so. Excerpts from his last column follow. It's interesting reading that reinforces a personal belief that the MSM is losing readership due to a slavish adherence to a controversy-avoiding status quo:

"This is the last of those columns. The world has changed a lot since 1995 and I've decided that there are better ways for me to express myself. The Internet, in particular, has enormously changed the ability to get a message out; one is no longer dependent on the traditional media, such as newspapers, for that purpose. Today, anyone with a computer and a modem can start a blog and, for all intents and purposes, be a columnist.

In the not-too-distant past, this was impossible. If you didn't write for a newspaper, it was very hard to get out timely commentary on topical subjects. But if you were any good, it wasn't too difficult to make a pretty good living as a columnist because there were many newspapers and competition raised the value of those columnists that readers would follow from one paper to another."



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