MAINSTREAM media is increasingly monitoring blogs for story leads, according to a journalist-turned-blogger at a forum on free expression and cyberspace in Manila.
With a common goal to expose the truth, the mainstream media have now embracing blogging as means to engage readers in a "conversation," said Rebecca Mackinnon, co-founder of Global Voices, an aggregator of blogs around the world.
While it would be nice to see a situation in which bloggers are the one's breaking the news, in the vast majority of cases they are simply adding their two cents. Most bloggers lack the money and the resources to lead with new (newsworthy) stories and most are content to comment on what is reported by the mainstream media. That is not to say that it is not possible for a blogger to bring a story to the attention of the press. At a local level, where some newspapers may lack the resources required to send a journalist to cover a local council meeting or another seemingly unimportant event, a blogger may find he or she has an exclusive story on his or her hands. In this case, newspapers and TV stations may turn to the blog to discover what transpired. In the majority of cases though, it will be the mainstream press that breaks the news. However, it is important that media organisations still turn to blogs to see what news matters to its readers and how they react to it. Newspapers or TV stations that may have under-reported or ignored a particular news item may find that it is important to many people and be required or persuaded to report it as a result. The conversation must remain the two-way process that it is slowly becoming and the mainstream media outlets that ignore the voices of their readers, viewers and listeners do so at their own peril.