Amy Gahran posted today at Poynteronline about How Bloggers Might Supplant Major News Organizations. You can go there to see why she thinks this might happen. Seeing her headline sparked another thought for me. Yesterday, I heard a comment on the news about how the LA Times had laid off a large number of employees because their revenues couldn't support their employee count. As I recall, the layoffs came just after the paper had received a number of awards--Pulitzers was it? Why isn't exceptional journalism making enough money to support itself? Could it be that part of the reason is that alternative news sources are siphoning off too much traffic? I don't know, but it's certainly conceivable.
I've written about the issue of blog credibility before. I've also heard (on NPR, I think) that bloggers are less likely to break stories than news organizations with investigative journalists. What blogs do is to draw attention to important stories that get passed over too lightly by mainstream media. While mainstream media certainly doesn't have a monopoly on scoops, I imagine there's a lot of truth behind such assertions. If blogging sucks too much revenue out of hardcore journalism, we may conceivably reduce our access to important information.
Interestingly, Gahran cited Peter Caputa saying something I'd been musing over just yesterday: "Caputa suggests fact-checking blogs, better topic-specific blog indexes, and credibility guides." One possible road for news organizations would be to research the credibility of alternative news sources and their particular stories, and to provide pointers to those that check out rather than writing all their own content. Hopefully, someone will still be out going after the scoops.