Below is a paragraph from a stunning five page feature article in Sunday's NY Times Book Review section by Judge Richard A. Posner. It's relevance to Cape Cod is increased by the loss of all Filene's advertising in local newspapers just this past Friday;. Here's Posner -
The latest, and perhaps gravest, challenge to the journalistic establishment is the blog. Journalists accuse bloggers of having lowered standards. But their real concern is less high-minded - it is the threat that bloggers, who are mostly amateurs, pose to professional journalists and their principal employers, the conventional news media. A serious newspaper, like The Times, is a large, hierarchical commercial enterprise that interposes layers of review, revision and correction between the reporter and the published report and that to finance its large staff depends on advertising revenues and hence on the good will of advertisers and (because advertising revenues depend to a great extent on circulation) readers. These dependences constrain a newspaper in a variety of ways. But in addition, with its reputation heavily invested in accuracy, so that every serious error is a potential scandal, a newspaper not only has to delay publication of many stories to permit adequate checking but also has to institute rules for avoiding error - like requiring more than a single source for a story or limiting its reporters' reliance on anonymous sources - that cost it many scoops.
What really sticks in the craw of conventional journalists is that although individual blogs have no warrant of accuracy, the blogosphere as a whole has a better error-correction machinery than the conventional media do. The rapidity with which vast masses of information are pooled and sifted leaves the conventional media in the dust. Not only are there millions of blogs, and thousands of bloggers who specialize, but, what is more, readers post comments that augment the blogs, and the information in those comments, as in the blogs themselves, zips around blogland at the speed of electronic transmission.
Richard A. Posner is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and, along with the economist Gary Becker, the author of The Becker-Posner Blog.
He has written many books including Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11 (2005), as well as books on the Clinton impeachment and Bush v. Gore.
Read the complete article here.