Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pass the megaphone

As a former newspaper reporter now trying my hand at blogging, I thought the intersection between the two areas might be a good area to focus on. The labels will be bloggers vs. newspapers.

Yesterday, I found a link that ponders if bloggers can do the job uncovering government corruption that the mainstream media does now. But his example doesn't prove his point. He tells a story from Lynwood, California where the city council members took foreign trips on the citizens' dime.
The L.A. Times broke the story in 2003. But how did they break it. Did an enterprising reporter dig through the record to find the bad stuff?
Only after being tipped off by a citizen, who put in two years of effort to get the release of credit card records. When he got the records, the citizen looked to the owner of the biggest megaphone - the L.A. Times then - to help publicize his information.
If newspapers don't have the biggest megaphone, someone else will. Bloggers are working together through groups like and to give better access to their opinions and what they find is going on.
Newspapers have traditionally been the watchdog for government and business abuses. But probably because they have traditionally had the biggest megaphone. When someone else has a bigger megaphone, those stories will come from that direction.

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