There are a few comments out there, like this one from Tim Blair, about the position organizations like the New York Times find themselves in — reporting a story that has blown up after it was previously ignored.
This brings all kinds of crazy questions into my head: When is a story a story? Because bloggers say it is? Can’t a big media organization have legitimate reasons for delaying publication of a story that have nothing to do with any reason a blogger might invent? Should the MSM cover a story just because it’s big news in the blogosphere? Do citizen journalists play a different role than professional journalist, and should they?
If you buy the notion of open source journalism, then the Eason Jordan story is a perfect example of how it works (timeline here). As a fan of open source journalism, I have to ask: Does it really matter who reports on the story, so long as it’s reported?
There is just a little tickle in my brain that suggests maybe bloggers are worrying a bit too much about what the MSM reports and what it doesn’t. I suspect some bloggers worry that a story isn’t a story until MSM reports it. I’m not sure the blogosphere needs MSM to validate a story.
Big media has its role and citizen journalists need to do their own thing. The roles are more symbiotic than competitive, but they can also be quite exclusive of each other.
If you really believe citizen journalism breaks down the barriers between information and public exposure, then it really doesn’t matter where the story comes from. What matters most is the open source vetting process — where facts are checked, context supplied and spin exposed.
We need the aggregate to uncover the truth, not validation from the New York Times or Washington Post.
As the Eason Jordan denouement proves, the MSM is not always relevant to how the story is told. Jordan resigned with scant notice of the scandal from big media outlets. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing.