I am going to try not to make this a navel-gazing exercise, though it may come across that way, but I think it may be worthwhile to examine where blogging/web journalism did things well and did not do things so well yesterday, since I think it's fair to say that that was the first true instance of widespread statewide liveblogging of breaking news in Tennessee. This includes a self-examination of PITW's efforts (myself very much included).
(UPDATE: Some communications I have had indicate that I am not being clear about something: in this post, I am talking about bloggers generally, not just PITW, though I include us in the pile. No, I don't provide specific links because, frankly, I'm too tired and lazy to do that right now and it's just about to be Memorial Day weekend. You'll just have to trust me.)
First, some of the good:
1. I have heard from many people about how much they appreciated the abililty to follow news on their computer screens as it was happening while they were at work. There's a lot to be said for that, especially since computer screens allow one to appear to be working much more than they would if they kept heading off to the break room to watch television every five minutes.
2. Blogs got to the initial story (emphasis on "initial"--see below) in much speedier fashion than the MSM. The most significant thing blogs/Web sites have done is shatter the barrier between when news is happening and when MSMers decide the public should know it's happening.
3. Because of their very nature, blogs created instant synergy among each other and their readers. Blogs pushed the story, readers commented, and the blogs went forward with some of that information or corrected information they had posted. One example: My mistaken statement yesterday that Memphis Mayor Herenton might have fallen under initial suspicion because former Senator Roscoe Dixon was his aide. Not five minutes had passed before I received emails telling me that Dixon was actually the aide to Shelby County Mayor Wharton. I fixed it immediately. Now, that's interactive media.
Now, for the other side....