In the history chapter of the Online Journalism Handbook you will find a timeline of key events in web journalism. While working on the forthcoming second edition I recently revisited and updated the timeline. Below are the 41 key events I have settled on — but have I missed any? Let me know what you think. Continue reading
Here’s another one for that book I’m working on – I’m trying to think: what have been the most significant events in the history of journalism blogging?
- 1998: The Drudge Report breaks the Monica Lewinsky story. While Drudge denies the site is a blog, it demonstrated how the nimbleness of an online operation could scoop the mainstream media.
- 2001: September 11 attacks: while news websites collapse under the global demand, a network of blogs pass on news and lists of survivors
- 2002: Trent Lott forced to resign after apparently pro-segregationist statements made at an event and initially ignored by mainstream media, were picked up and fleshed out by bloggers
- 2003: Invasion of Iraq: Salam Pax, the ‘Baghdad Blogger’, posts updates from the city as it is bombed, providing a particular contrast to war reporters ’embedded’ with the armed forces and demonstrating the importance of non-journalist bloggers
- 2003: Christopher Allbritton raises $15,000 through his blog Back-to-Iraq 3.0, to send him to report independently from the war, demonstrating the ability of blogs to financially support independent journalism (called the ‘tip-jar model’).
- 2004: Rathergate/Memogate: CBS’ 60 Minutes broadcast a story about George W. Bush’s National Guard service, and within minutes a section of the blogosphere mobilises to discredit the documents on which it is based. Dan Rather eventually resigns as a result.
- 2004: Asian Tsunami: more blogs mobilise around a disaster, of particular significance for video blogging
- 2005: July 7 Bombings, London: mobile phone image of passengers walking along Tube tunnel posted on MoBlog (although was first sent to The Sun), and goes global from there. A significant moment in moblogging.
- 2006: The Pulitzer Prize for Public Service cites the blog run by the New Orleans Times Picayune during Hurricane Katrina. The flexibility of blogs during a disaster which stopped printing presses and delivery trucks was driven home (h/t Bob Stepno).
- 2007: Talking Points Memo blog breaks story of US attorneys being fired across the country, demonstrating the power of involving readers in an investigation, and carrying it out in public (h/t Albert in the comments).
- 2007: Dave Winer wins his $2,000 bet (made in 2002) that blogs will rank higher than the New York Times for the top 5 news stories of 2007 (h/t Bob Stepno), demonstrating the importance of blogging in news distribution.
- 2007: Myanmar protests: the clampdown that followed democratic protests in the country was seen around the world thanks to blogging, moblogging, and social networking sites. Journalists were not allowed in the country. Even after the government cut off the internet, bloggers located outside the country continued to post material. (h/t Sandra Fish in comments)
- 2008: Peter Hain resigns over donations revealed by UK political blogger Guido Fawkes, who in 2006 broke a story on an affair by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott which he claimed lobby correspondents were sitting on
- 2008: Chinese Earthquake: a key moment for microblogging, as news of the earthquake spreads on Twitter (and Chinese IM service QQ) quicker than any official channels.
- 2008: Collapse of Northern Rock: BBC correspondent Robert Peston breaks one of the biggest stories of the year – not on TV, but on his blog.
What have I missed? This is a horribly Anglo-American list, too, so I’d particularly welcome similar moments from other countries.
Part five of this draft book chapter looks at how blogs have changed the funding of journalism through their ability to attract reader donations, as well as other increasingly important sources such as licensing and foundations. I would welcome any corrections, extra information or comments.
Just as new media technologies are challenging publishing and distribution conventions, traditional business models have also been disrupted in a news industry which has, at least in the West, been facing declines in readership and advertising revenue for decades (Meyer, 2004). In this environment investigative journalism has been one of the first to suffer from cuts to staff and resources (Knightley, 2004; Outing, 2005; Freola, 2007), or to be targeted towards the more profitable areas of celebrity coverage.
In response to this decline in funding, blogs have offered a new way to finance investigative journalism. Continue reading