Jack Balkin on Media Old and New
In this interview, Jack Balkin (law, Yale) has some fascinating thoughts about how blogging interacts with the mainstream media and what the future holds:
Although bloggers like to think of themselves as bravely checking and critiquing old media, and parts of old media still regard bloggers as uncouth, unaccountable, and unreliable, in fact new media and old media (viewed both as a set of distinctive technologies and as a set of persons and social practices) have effectively merged much more than either would care to admit.
Reporters now regularly use bloggers, particularly expert bloggers, as sources for their stories. Newspapers, television networks and newsmagazines increasingly incorporate interactive elements in their online versions, sponsor their own blogs, and provide linkbacks to the blogs that discuss their stories. . . .
Interactivity will transform old media, which will not give up the ghost, but will instead use its considerable political and financial clout to draw important elements of the blogosphere ever closer to it, coopting and transforming them, even though many parts of the blogosphere will always remain beyond old media’s grasp. . . .
Of course, the more that old media tries to coopt the blogosphere, the more it will itself be transformed. The result, I am afraid, will not be an unalloyed victory for decentralization or democracy, nor will it represent the end of powerful shapers of public opinion who occasionally abuse their power. Rather, it will instead produce a different distribution of power and a different set of dangers and responsibilities.