by Christine Stuart
With a little more than a month before the presidential primary in New Hampshire, stakeholders explored how the role of the traditional media, bloggers, and citizen journalists have changed the political landscape in the Granite State and beyond, at an event Thursday hosted by the New England News Forum.
A fixture in the New Hampshire political scene for years, Arnie Arnesen, a radio talk show host and blogger, said Thursday that the traditional media have abandoned their role as a “check on power,” and have traded it to become stenographers for power. She said when blogs began gaining popularity many were afraid they would become nothing but echo chambers, but in many instances that isn’t the case.
However, the 2008 election will test how effective blogs were in getting voters to the polls, Arnesen said. She used Ron Paul’s campaign which was waged largely on the Internet as an example. “I know people who are monitoring him to see if all the Internet hype is anything more than typing,” she said.
Dan Kennedy, blogger and journalism professor at Northeastern University, pointed out that blogs have a different way of news gathering than traditional journalists. He said blogs get a piece of unconfirmed information and they put it out there and over time it emerges as either credible or not credible, whereas traditional media sit on information until it can be verified and properly vetted. He called the bloggers method, “crowd source journalism” because the blogging community works on vetting the information together. Kennedy used the U.S. Attorney firings as an example of this new type of reporting technique.