Reuters sez: Blogs don't necessarily replace MSM ...
"Bloggers follow buzz as much as they make it..."
I often think that blogging is more of an outlet for the expression of free thinking, or for some a hobby, or kind of memoir and with social commentary-- a means but not an end. But if you take a look at the proliferation of political blogs and you can see that many of them are just aggregators for MSM articles (with a small amount of commentary from self-proclaimed experts--and, as I know from a jounalism workshop, if you proclaim yourself to be an expert, you are. you don't nec. need to prove it.)
It's not that the money or the interest isn't there to build blogs into more--oh, no. There are some big blogs that function like media outlets, but I'm not sure that's the purpose of blogs. That's just mimicking MSM, and, eventually can become the thing it criticizes.
Blogs, IMHO, are more of a populist medium, a form of communication and of community building. If we do indeed break a story, then we break a story. If we communicate something to people in another sector of the country or the world, that's great. And there are alot of aggregators...
That's not a totally bad thing--reading the blog of a friend in Washington state gives me an insight into what's going on in Washington state. Stuff I might not read about in MSM because I don't subscribe to any Seattle papers.
But I'm not totally convinced that aggregating on politics in general makes one blog more worthy than another.
That's part of why I think Technorait's categories for charting blogs are far too narrow and that its stats are skewed to prove a particular point--that blogs, esp. political blogs, seem greater than they actually are. Tecnorati has one view of blogs that it likes to forward at all cost and, if I read Sifry properly, wants Technorati's stats to be the final proof of what blogs are or aren't.
Even though he acknowledges that they are an adjuct to, not a substitute for, MSM.
The Blogosphere is a growing little subculture. It was fairly stable when it was small, but with growth it's become chaotic, and lots and lots of folks want to quantify it and qualify it--censor it in some way. Because chaos makes people uncomfortable. And some people just need to crunch numbers and read stats. They might want to try reading tarot cards, too. In time it will tease itself out, like all subcultures do.
So, being an expert on subcultures, my advice to the stats crunchers is to sit back and relax...let it happen. Evolution's a great ride.