I read it in the WSJ and have also read comments about the column in several other blogs. Thanks to London-based Adriana Cronin-Lukas for one pointer. Peggy Noonan’s cogent essay on MSM (mainstream media) vs. the blogosphere (Feb. 17, 2005 Wall Street Journal) should be required reading. Her key points:

  • The blogosphere isn’t really the wild, untamed West. Bloggers are using the time-honored tools of journalism (computer, keyboard, willingness and desire to ask tough questions).
  • Bloggers don’t have editors. So they can decide what’s a story, how long it’s a story and how they want to cover it. (She doesn’t say this, but… some bloggers could sure use a good editor when it comes to syntax, style, grammar, etc.)
  • Bloggers can post immediately. No constraints due to institutionally-mandated deadlines.
  • Bloggers are often “selling an original insight, a new area of inquiry” (her words).
  • They’re doing it free…
  • BUT that “doesn’t mean commerce isn’t involved” (Peggy’s words). “It is intellectual commerce.” Hey, neat turn of phrase. What she’s saying is that we as readers are giving bloggers our “attention and intellectual energy.” Good bloggers entertain us. The more we read them, the better known and more influential they become.

Anyway, it’s worth reading the whole essay. You can print it out.