There has been a lot of talk about how we have to come up with a plan to save “journalism” in this country. I use the word “journalism” in the most loose of forms since anybody who reads most non-major media associated news sites (which includes blogs) know we really don’t have journalism in this country anymore. Most “news” produced by places like the New York Times is just regurgitated information they received from the Associated Press. They usually also add in more bias while they’re at it.
Steve Jobs recently spoke at D: All Things Digital where he said he doesn’t want to use us descend into a world of bloggers implying that blogs aren’t a legitimate source of news. The fact of the matter is blogs are a relevant source of news. How many stories do you read on this site alone that are never covered in any detail in major news media sources? Does the Star Tribune ever fairly cover upcoming Minnesota gun legislation? Nope. If you relied on them all you know about the “gun show loophole” is that it allows criminals to buy any gun at a gun show without a background check. Thankfully due to us gun bloggers you know that’s not true and that the “loophole” isn’t a loophole at all.
I was talking with somebody else about this subject and we came up with a rather interesting notion. Today’s bloggers are akin to Pamphleers in the days gone by. Back in the day news was spread often by people handing out pamphlets that they printed off. These pamphlets contained whatever information the printer wanted to portray to the public. You were free to take of leave them as you wanted. Of course it was up to you to determine the legitimacy of the information as it is with blogs, newspapers, and television news sources (the latter two seem to lie more from what I’ve found).
The bottom line is the concept of “accreditation and trusted” news sources hasn’t always been around. I don’t know exactly when it happened by at some point in our history we stopped doing our own research and just assumed whatever the major news outlets told us was fact. This is not how it’s always been.
So yes bloggers are legitimate news sources. We are not parasites preying off of the major media outlets. Many local stories originate from blogs. But as with popular news sources you have to determine what information is legitimate and what information is now.