The New York Review of Books is publishing a series of essays from the respected journalist Michael Massing. The first is a thoughtfully researched look at the evolution of the blog in the context of news and information provided through the Internet.
Massing takes on the criticism the Internet is a form of parasite on legacy media.
"Without the vital news-gathering performed by established institutions, many Web sites would sputter and die. In their sweep and scorn, however, such statements seem as outdated as they are defensive.
"Over the past few months alone, a remarkable amount of original, exciting, and creative (if also chaotic and maddening) material has appeared on the Internet. The practice of journalism, far from being leeched by the Web, is being reinvented there, with a variety of fascinating experiments in the gathering, presentation, and delivery of news. And unless the editors and executives at our top papers begin to take note, they will hasten their own demise."
Massing examines the impact of many individuals and organizations, and he concludes the lowering of barriers of entry to newcomers has yielded a fresh wave of voices and approaches. What he isn't clear about, though, is how the expense of journalism is going to be met in this new environment.
"Needless to say, traditional news organizations continue to play a critical part in keeping the public informed. But can they adapt to the rapidly changing news environment? And who is going to pay for quality news and information in the future?"
For the answer to that, we await his next instalment in the series.