... When bloggers decide that something matters, they chomp down hard and refuse to let go. They're the true pit bulls of reporting. The only way to get them off a story is to cut off their heads (and even then you'll need to pry their jaws open). They almost all work alone, but, ironically, it's their collective effort that makes them so effective. They share their work freely, feed off one another's work, argue with each other, and add to the story dialectically.
And because blogs are ongoing and daily, indeed sometimes hourly, bloggers will often start with a small story, or a piece of one -- a contradictory quote, an unearthed document, a detail that doesn't add up -- that the big outlets would deem too minor. But it's only minor until, well, it's not. Big media can't see the forest for the trees. Until it's assembled for them by the bloggers.
I also love the open nature of the form -- the links, the research made visible, the democratic back and forth, the open archives, the big professorial messiness of it all. It reminds me of my schoolgirl days when providing the right answer wasn't enough for our teachers -- they demanded that we 'show our work.' Bloggers definitely show their work. It's why you don't just read blogs -- you experience them.
All of which has made the blogosphere such a vital news source in our country -- and has made me besotted with blogs. It's a crush that I'm betting will quickly progress to going steady.
Many of the authors of well read blogs are themselves writers and journalists. They're not completely amateurs, more like pros playing in an amateur game. They can't do the in depth analysis and long term research major news outlets can do, but they are a new form of communication. The interactivity and loosely-coupled collaboration, interacting and consolidating data from traditional and new media produces a new kind of emergent analysis. The world-mind's IQ jumps another notch.
At the very least, an optimistic counterpoint to the News Corp/ClearChannel omniverse.