Monday, July 06, 2009

David Warsh on Mark Thoma

From The Perpendicular:
"Traditional journalists sometimes assert that blogs are about opinion and interpretation rather than fact and reporting, when the truth is that a great deal of new and ultimately reliable material first appears on blogs.

Therein lies the significance of Thoma’s blog – and other sites like it, including those of Romenesko and David Johnson, the man behind the Russia List. The proprietors of each are essentially editors. They hue as best they understand it to the perpendicular. They seek to see whole the debate they cover, to present its raw files fairly to readers, to occupy the center ground and treat all comers fairly. They function more like referees on a stylized battlefield than (as Robert Wright distinguishes among bloggers) disc jockeys or musicians. It is no accident that in each of these cases the blogger’s ego is almost totally subordinated to the task, that the proprietors work long hours for little or nothing.
But demand for unifying narrative remains strong, at every level, including the version that newspapers traditionally have supplied. This itch for reading on the same page must begin to be satisfied, inevitably, with just the sort of daily record that Thoma and others of his ilk compile from all that fevered discourse in the public square."

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