"The question of whether "mainstream media" will survive, or whether it should survive, or in what form, or how, is irrelevant. I don't care. I'm sick of arguments about that. What I care about is whether journalism - the process of hunting down factual information and verifying it - survives and thrives somewhere, somehow." - Rebecca MacKinnon
The question of what journalism will look like is indeed at the heart of the matter. My concern is that in a rush to kill 'Mainstream Media', we will throw out some of the best of what has become journalism in the early 21st century.
Today, I work in a newsroom with Asian-American, African-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American, and Indian-American journalists, as well as many journalist born and raised in other countries...you get the picture. It has taken 'Mainstream Media' a very long time to get to this point of inclusion - which, in reality, is just about reflecting the true nature of American and world culture both in what we report and how we report it. There is still a long way to go, but much progress has already be made.
My fear is that the overwelmingly white and male American blogosphere, hell bent (in some quarters) on replacing the current ranks of professional journalists with themselves, will return us to a day where the dialogue about issues was a predominantly white-only one.
Case in point, the relentless focus among bloggers on the Howard Dean campaign's new media saavy, while EVERYONE, except for the black press, missed the Bush campaign's grass roots efforts in African-American and other 'minority' communities (especially in Ohio) to move small numbers of voters from the democratic column to the republican one. Both Old and New journalism have to continue to work to cover this nation and the world from all perspectives; and that can only be done by having a much more representative group of people at the decision making table. This should apply whether the table is the kitchen table or the table in the corporate boardroom.
As we meet, organize and plan for that day of the New New journalism, lets try to not throw out the baby with the bath water. What much of 'Mainstream Media' has learned is that in order to be successful (read influential), it has had to become mindful of what kinds of people it is made up of. I hope that as bloggers struggle to define their role in this century's journalism, they don't forget to take that into account as well.