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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Assaying the Future of Journalism

Michael Massing writes:

The two bloggers most commonly recognized as the medium's pioneers, Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan, are, remarkably, still at it. Kaus, who started the blog kausfiles in 1999, is now at Slate, and Sullivan, who began The Daily Dish in 2000, now posts at The Atlantic. Both still use the style they helped popularize—short, sharp, conversational bursts of commentary and opinion built around links to articles, columns, documents, and other blogs. At first glance, this approach might seem to bear out the charge of parasitism. In early July, for instance, Sullivan, under the headline "Where the Far Right Now Is," wrote:

I watched this in Aspen [where he was attending a conference]. Michael Scheuer is actually saying that the only "hope" for the US is a major attack from Osama bin Laden. This is where they are, getting nuttier by the day.
Below was a link to a clip from Fox News on which Scheuer, a former CIA analyst, indeed expressed the hope that bin Laden would attack the US so that its government would finally take the measures needed to protect the American people. Sullivan is here riffing on the journalism of others while doing no conventional reporting of his own. But, as a regular reading of his posts shows, his multiple links to a wide array of sources, processed through his idiosyncratic gay-Catholic-Thatcherite- turned-libertarian-radical mind, produces an engaging and original take on the world. A dramatic demonstration of this occurred just after the Iranian elections, when his site became an up-to-the-minute clearinghouse for e-mails, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, photos, and e-mails from Tehran, many posted before mainstream news outlets could get hold of them. Sullivan made no pretense of being balanced— he devoutly desired the overthrow of the hard-line establishment supporting Ahmadinejad and tilted his site to that end—but at a time when Western journalists were largely muzzled, The Daily Dish served as a nerve center for news from the Iranian street. While reading his site, I was also watching CNN, and it seemed clear that Sullivan, sitting at his computer, outperformed CNN's entire global network.

link: The News About the Internet - The New York Review of Books


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