Be sure to read Chris Mooney’s essay on blogging. I think it offers a good look at where we are now. I found this part particularly interesting:
Finally, there’s the simple fact that while bloggers can be highly substantive and demonstrate considerable expertise — some of the best are career journalists or professors — they’re very rarely thorough. Bloggers tend to specialize in putting a deft touch on pre-existing information rather than in generating completely new findings; there’s no such thing as a blogging investigative report or feature story.
All of which suggests the complementary, rather than alternative, role of blogging with respect to mainstream media. The central virtue of blogging, I’ve decided, is that in the proverbial agora, or online marketplace of ideas, bloggers are like Socrates on speed.
They’re constantly interrogating arguments and points of view, noting flaws, advancing more sound positions, and shifting the focus to new questions. The mainstream media are being watched more closely because of bloggers — and kept more honest — and that can’t be a bad thing.
I would suggest that the third paragraph of the quote challenges the contention in the first paragraph that bloggers “specialize in putting a deft touch on pre-existing information rather than in generating completely new findings.” I would say that shifting the focus to new questions constitutes generating new findings–if we can accept a question as a “finding.”
Journalism looks for answers. I think good blogs look for questions. We bloggers certainly have our positions and assertions, and we posit and assert them every day. But one of our strengths, I think, lies in our questions as Mooney asserts.