For breaking news, the newspapers can be safely ignored

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Glen Greenwald has an interesting post on the myth of the parasitical bloggers.

In newsrooms, the word “blogger” is basically an insult. Traditional journalists see bloggers as their competition and try their best to run the bloggers down. Of course, how newspaper truly view blogging is revealed in the fact that every newspaper has numerous blogs of its own in an attempt to mimic the true bloggers whom the the papers know instinctively are more agile and interesting.

Greenwald looks at journalist claims that bloggers steal from journalists, and finds that in reality, it’s the journalists who steal from the bloggers. The bloggers have better analysis and are often more interesting writers. This is because bloggers, unlike most reporters, have actual expertise and produce material in new and interesting ways that reject the old orthodoxy of the tired newspaper story. This article looks at just how little value reporters actually produce thanks to their lack of expertise, and the bloggers offer a nice antidote to this.

Greenwald could have also noted that bloggers and microbloggers (via Twitter) are quickly becoming the most important agents of breaking news.

During the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, all the best new information came from Twitter and from people posting photos to sites like Flickr. This information was being posted as it happened. Meanwhile, the professional reporters barely knew what was even going on.

Mumbai was not an isolated case, and Twitter has increasingly become a news source that both aggregates and produces news content without any need for content provided by the professional reporters themselves.

Once the news has been broken by the tweeters on Twitter, the bloggers then provide all the most interesting analysis. Newspapers have yet to figure out how to cope with this, although it is likely already too late.

Incidentally, you can follow me on Twitter here.

12:43 am on May 20, 2009