You know, I think I’ve got an inkling why some mainstream journalists seem to get so rankled by blogs. It’s not just that all that irritating fact checking and bias spotting. It’s that if you tend to write any kind of more abstract news-analysis type stuff, then unless you’re a serious expert on the topic at hand (and maybe even then), you’ve got about 12 hours after a story breaks before someone out there in the ‘sphere has already made every interesting argument you’d been thinking about putting down. Sure, they’re not all in the same place, and sure, you can still write up your piece, confident that many of your readers won’t already have encountered all your points on various other blogs. Still, it feels sort of lame to commit to pixel (or paper) a thousand word essay knowing that the substance of it is already “out there” in the blogosphere.
Obviously, in a big picture sense, this is a good thing: More ideas disseminated more quickly and more widely. But it is a little frustrating to get what seems like an interesting insight, start sketching a piece in your head, then realize a dozen others beat you to the punch. That’s probably good for readers too, though, since it spurs writers who want to distinguish themselves to find increasingly less-obvious points to make.