Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mainstream Media Can Learn Some Things from the Bloggers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mainstream Media Can Learn Some Things from the Bloggers

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Clark, Times-Union Reader Advocate

In a media world turned upside down, amateur columnists bring down a TV network's bogus story, while mainstream reporters sit in the back of the bus.

What's wrong with this picture?

As The Washington Post noted, reporters assigned to the campaign of John Kerry rarely get a chance to interview him, while President Bush has has held few news conferences.

Why even bother to follow a candidate when he refuses to speak to you? It seems a waste of time and money.

Candidates and their spin handlers don't like to be questioned by the press because the press can't be controlled. Questions might produce answers that cause trouble for the candidate.

Reporters have no subpoena powers. If the road to a story is blocked, the job of the journalist is to find another path. All the reporters in Washington, D.C., seem to be following the same story anyway. Why not send some of those reporters off the usual path and do some actual reporting on the issues?

With all the power of the major media, news organizations should pressure respective campaigns to answer specific questions. If the candidates refuse to answer, then say so.

Following the candidates around, begging for a bit of access -- it's a sad sight.

Meanwhile, amateurs who produce Web logs, basically independent opinion columnists, were the first to poke holes in the CBS story on the military history of Bush. The bloggers have their own agendas, of course, but they were right on this story. The documents used by CBS were suspect.

Think about it. The bloggers aren't tied to the usual rules, they don't have to take part in the dance between the news media and political campaign operatives. If a reporter asks too many hostile questions, he may be shut out. Bloggers don't have that fear. They are already shut out, meaning they also are totally independent. …

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