The promise of blogs and blogging and all the associated other social networks is that they would outsmart, outdistance and outshine the main stream media (MSM). While I believe some of that happened initially, lately much of the blogging simply seems to be bloggers echoing one another and echoing the top MSM stories. The most recent example in high tech was the coverage of the attempt by Microsoft to acquire Yahoo. This story went from interesting to boring at digital speed. I suppose the problem lies in bloggers trying to get page views, but I’ll leave that for later.
But now there is a genuine world crisis in an area not particularly open to the press and involving politics, social forces and geographies which frankly I don’t think we in the West and the U.S. in particular know much about: the ongoing conflict between Russia and Georgia. This would seem fertile ground for bloggers able to get at a realistic view if not the ever elusive “Truth.”
Steve LaVine comes to blogging about the conflict via BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Those are indeed msm credentials. Of course maybe it was because of those credentials and because of the ability to dig deep, develop sources and be relentless that you end up with some clear reporting on a confused situation.
In addition to LaVine, I’d include some analysis by Yulia Latynina. Registan is a good place for round-up on Central Asia news. I’m not turning this blog into a political blog, but it is in covering the big events of our time that the idea of bloggers outsmarting the mainstream press shows its strengths and weakness.