Daniel Hannan explores and explains the sometimes unhappy relationship between traditional media and blogs…from his own blog, that is ironically part of The Telegraph.
Back in the pioneering days, blogs were seen as a challenge to the established media. And, in one sense, they were. When Guido scalped his first minister, Peter Hain, in 2008, something changed, though the newspapers were slow to notice. When, the following year, he aimed his tomahawk at Derek Draper and Damien McBride, old-style pundits were still laboriously explaining to their readers what these blog thinggies were. By the time Tim Yeo became Guidoâs latest victim, no one needed to ask any more.
When a dozen dead tree newspapers determined the agenda, the mediaâs chief power lay inÂ notÂ reporting a story â not through conspiracy, but from shared assumptions about what constituted news. Take the leak of the âhide the declineâ emails from climatologists at the University of East Anglia in late 2009. At first, the astonishing trove was reported only by bloggers. It wasnât that environment correspondents were meeting behind drawn blinds and vowing to repress the discovery; it was that, being uncomplicated believers in the AGW orthodoxy, they couldnât see why the emails were a story. Only when repeatedly needled by online commentators were they were eventually forced to report perhaps the biggest event in its field of the century.
The key moment came when the story wasÂ picked upÂ by James Delingpole, whose post attracted 1.6 million hits. Tellingly, that post appeared here, on Telegraph Blogs. Blogs were now part of the established media. In the early days, some had believed that the MSM would be displaced, others that the old brands would conscript the upstarts. In fact, something more interesting happened:Â the distinction broke down. Â Read more »