"Who ARE These Guys?"

Charles Cooper of CNET writes about blogs and newspapers and the clash of the two.

“During a panel discussion on Internet versus traditional media that I attended this week in Santa Clara, tech columnist John Markoff of The New York Times and tech columnist Kara Swisher of The Wall Street Journal sounded like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as they repeated the mainstream media’s general suspicion of the blogosphere: Who are those guys?

Markoff and Swisher are smart cookies who are clued into the technology business. But there’s a shift under way in which authority is being transferred to authors with no accountability other than to themselves and their readership. Does it matter? Should it matter? The mainstream media can look down its nose at the blogosphere, but the numbers tell a different story. More people than ever are reading blogs because of shared affinities and it’s coming at the expense of print newspapers.

Yahoo Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig, who was also on the panel, put it succinctly to traditional media:

“We don’t know who your editors are. All our lives we read stuff written by people we don’t know that’s edited by people we don’t know, who might have an agenda.”

It’s all a matter of perspective, but while these debates drone on, newspapers continue to lose readers and advertisers. If that’s not a wake-up call for a new approach, then what is?”