Lee Gomes wrote about Memeorandum, Blogniscient and TechCrunch in the Wall Street Journal today. It’s an interesting column discussing the rise of blogs as “journalists” and the usefullness of blog aggregators in filtering out the most important writing.
The reality is that while there are now as many tech blogs as stars in the sky, only a tiny fraction of them matter. And those that do aren’t part of some proletarian information revolution, but instead have become the tech world’s new elite. Reporters for the big mainstream newspapers and magazines, long accustomed to fawning treatment at corporate events, now show up and find that the best seats often go to the A-list bloggers. And living at the front of the velvet rope line means the big bloggers are frequently pitched and wooed. In fact, with the influence peddling universe in this state of flux, it’s not uncommon for mainstream reporters, including the occasional technology columnist, to lobby bloggers to include links to their print articles.
While I agree with the trend that Lee Gomes is highlighting, I also think there is something even bigger going on. I agree with Dave Winer when he says:
There’s more going on here than the reporters being replaced by bloggers. It’s disintermediation, the thing that the Internet does to every business, art and profession that aggregates and repackages. Carl Sagan said that human beings are the cosmos gaining consciousness and studying itself. The tech bloggers are the tech community, the programmers, lawyers, investors, business managers, users, taking responsibility for their own cosmos. The reporters were necessary when you needed a million dollars to start a news “paper,” then a billion dollars to start a media empire. Now you need a laptop computer and an account on Blogger or MSN Spaces.
Bloggers take friction out of the news reporting process. No editors are around to slow down the process. There are also no fact checkers, which can cause problems. However, the blogosphere tends to correct for this, and, as an ecosystem, I’d wager the blogosphere gets more things right than journalists.
Anyway, it is an interesting article. Lee Gomes is one of the guys who gets it, obviously. And I just bought every print copy of the ‘Journal at the local newsstand.