Old alternative media readers, meet new alternative media


The cover story in this week's issue of the Oklahoma Gazette, Oklahoma City's alternative weekly, is about blogs, specifically Oklahoma bloggers who comment on the news and it features quotes from Dustbury's Charles G. Hill, Mike from OkieDoke, and yours truly.

I spoke to Gazette reporter Deborah Benjamin a couple of weeks ago, and it was obvious from her questions that she had done her homework on the subject. There are a lot of angles you could take with a story on blogs. Deborah's focus is on the role of blogs as watchdogs and supplements to the traditional mainstream media.

The story begins with a recounting of how bloggers picked up on comments made by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott at a reception in honor of Sen. Strom Thurmond. The mainstream media was there, but for whatever reason chose not to report the remarks or give them any prominence.

Much of the focus on blogs recently has been about their fact-checking function, displayed prominently in the recent CBS memos scandal, but the Lott/Thurmond story illustrates another way in which blogs help to balance the media.

One of the ways media bias infects news reporting is in story selection and the selection of details to report in any given story. Story selection can be deliberately slanted, but often I think it happens subconsciously. A reporter is observing an event through his own frame of reference, and a story or a detail just doesn't register as important, even though it might be interesting or crucial for some in the reporter's audience. This is one way blogs serve the public -- bloggers can glean the cutting room floor of the mainstream media, and put the lost details out there to be found by others who will also find them significant. Key facts are rescued from burial next to the classified section and given prominence.

Thanks to Mike from OkieDoke for calling attention to the story. There are some comments on his entry which are worth reading as well.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 9, 2004 12:06 AM.

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