Sunlit Water

August 5, 2008

Sources

Filed under: Blogs — by teofilo @ 10:27 am

My weekends are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so I’m back in Albuquerque visiting and tying up some loose ends.  I was looking at the Albuquerque Journal this morning and saw on the front page an article about some recent difficulties at Los Alamos National Labs with an x-ray machine that inadvertently zapped one of its own interior parts, creating a big mess.  The Journal has an annoying paywall, so I can’t link to the article itself, but this post by the same reporter seems to be an early version of the story.  The reporter, John Fleck, seems to have first seen this on a blog, which was duly linked in the early blogpost version, but what I found interesting when reading the article is that he also cited the blog by name as his source for the story there, although most of the further details in the article came from a lab spokesman.

This is the first time I’ve seen an article in a (relatively) prominent mainstream newspaper cite a blog as a source for a story, and one on the front page, no less.  I know some of the more “reporterly” blogs such as TPM often complain that traditional media outlets steal their stories without crediting them, but this seems like an interesting and relatively new development, where a blog begins to fill the role usually occupied by behind-the-scenes tipsters but with the difference that a blog, unlike a tip, is public and available for anyone to see.  It allows a certain amount of additional accountability for the newspapers when their readers can personally check up on the sources for their articles and decide for themselves how accurately the newspapers are representing the information they’re getting.  It’s an interesting example of the complex and growing symbiosis between the blogosphere and the traditional media that goes well beyond the stereotypes each frequently promulgates about the other.

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