Web's 'big bang' realigning media universe
At Democrats' confab in Denver, much musing on how 'new media' are changing politics – and everything else.
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"When people look back at this campaign, one of the headlines will definitely be that this was one of the first truly Internet campaigns, both for the press and the candidates," says Mr. Stephanopoulos. "If you look at what Senator Obama has done – fundraising, organizing across the Web – this is something that we've never seen in the past. And the coverage on the Web has really driven much of the political conversation for the last year – that’s the first time it's done that."Skip to next paragraph
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Sometimes that conversation is one that, in the past, would seldom have made it into print. Mr. Schieffer noted that when he was a young newspaper reporter in Fort Worth, Texas, “about 10 days out from every election” someone always seemed to “whisper that the candidate had a girlfriend that lived out on the East Side.” (For some reason, he noted, girlfriends always lived on the East Side....) So he and his colleagues would go through the business of checking it out. If the rumor didn’t pan out, it didn’t make it into print. Now "that stuff," true or not, ends up on a blog somewhere, Schieffer notes.
"The Web has changed everything. It may be even harder for the politicians, just as it’s put new pressure on the press," he says. "The Web is the only conveyor of news on a national and international scale that has no editor."
That prompted ABC’s Stephanopoulos to sum up the challenge faced by most traditional major media outlets.
"We have to both learn to live in that universe and report in that universe, but also take a step back from it because so much of the way news is made across the Web tends to have a more partisan cast," he says. "Part of our job is to still maintain a kind of national conversation where all sides can get heard. Sometimes it can get uncomfortable for us, because we hear from each side when they're not happy."
So while the "old journalist" types in the much-maligned mainstream media try to figure out a way to navigate a path in this new universe, I’ve got to decide what to do. Should I hit "reply" to my new friend Joe and confess that I’m nothing more than a nosy reporter? Or should I respond to my editor and let her know I’d be delighted to write a blog for the website and do a podcast for tomorrow?