Sunday, August 15, 2004


Okay, here it is -- my evil plan to save the world.

I don't know how many of my regular readers (all five of you :) are really immersed in the blogosphere. I jumped into the 'sphere in about April and never turned back. Instapundit and company haved proven to be much more efficient than mainstream media in making important news available to the public. There are many reasons for this -- the blog news cycle is ahead of the mainstream news curve (check this); bloggers aren't afraid to admit their bias; bloggers hold fact-checking to be the greatest good; bloggers provide links to the source material. And the traditional news media is running scared.

But there's a big problem with blogs, and if you've been following the industry, you know what it is. Blogs identify news, fact-check news, highlight news, corroborate news, dissect the news in hundreds of ways, but by and large they don't perform the most important act in the news industry -- they don't report news.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule -- for example, when Iraqi blogger Zeyad broke the story of a couple fellow Iraqis who were allegedly thrown into a river by American soldiers (latest news here, BTW). But by and large, blogs just don't report. And those who do -- the major news media, including television, radio, and newspaper -- seem to become more and more incompetent every day. So the essential job of journalism just isn't getting done.

Not that journalism has ever been perfect in the past. Yellow journalism has existed for well over a century. But I have the feeling that we're at a low point in the history of journalism right now (check out this, this, this and tons of other sites that detail this), and thus hopefully, very soon, we'll be moving back up. Check out a post here that talks about the changes coming.

This is America. Well actually, it's the Internet, but you get what I mean. My point so far is that there will be a paradigm shift in the near future. The shift will be huge, and will affect at least one of the nation's largest corporate sectors -- the news industry. So as America's a capitalist country, I've put together a business plan. I don't have the means to execute this business plan, and unfortunately I don't have the knowledge or connections to get someone else to put it into action, but I'm pretty confident it would be successful if adopted.

Enough rambling. Here's the plan: Locate top-notch part-time bloggers in the major news markets -- say New York, DC, LA, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston; maybe add in Philadelphia, Denver, St Louis, Dallas, San Francisco, Cincinnati. The final list will probably be determined both by news potential and the quality of available local bloggers. Hire these bloggers (I'm thinking one from each city to start) to become full-time blogging journalists -- active members of the city press corps, feet on the ground, all that, but doing it with more intelligence, clarity, and honesty than the established reporters. Host the blogs on a centralized website, similar GUI to the existing news websites, but whole thought-process on the back end is different. Really separate the reporting and analysis; provide the raw information such as interview and press conference transcripts. Get the reader more involved in the news process by allowing them to suggest press conference questions, perhaps open up the possibility of guest blog posts. This could go all sorts of places.

Of course, I haven't talked about the money-making side of it, which is of course the most important area if we're making this a capitalist enterprise. I don't know whether web ads would support this or not, or maybe something else can be done. However, I'm confident that I've outlined a marketable product, and I guess I'll leave it up to the marketing experts to do their thing.

All we'd need, really, would be some venture capitalist or benefactor or something . . .

Mark Cuban, are you listening?


Anonymous said...

What's the evil part?


UndercoverPunk said...

See this.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I agree, we do need more blogging counterparts in raw news gathering. And, armed with cheap digital cameras, we can even have blogged photojournalism. I think Instapundit and the Iraqi bloggers are on the bleeding edge of that.

I've linked you over at my blog, DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS. I haven't read your blog before; I found it because you're in the same category as me over at TTLB. Great work!

Steve Bragg