New York Times vs. blogs: wrong question

Alexander Rose at The Long Now blog has a post about how the foundation has determined a winner in the 2002 wager between Dave “I invented blogs” Winer and Martin Niezenholtz of the New York Times. The bet was whether a search of the top news stories from 2007 would produce more results from blogs or more from The New York Times. According to Rose, blogs won — although he also notes that the bet was poorly worded, and therefore ambiguous in many ways.

I think the bet was more than just poorly worded, however. The whole idea behind was flawed to begin with, and is even more flawed now. The wager pits blogs against the New York Times as though one is somehow a replacement for the other. That may have made some sense in 2002 but makes very little sense now — especially since the NYT and plenty of other mainstream media have blogs of their own.

Let’s recap: Blogs and media are not opposing forces. Blogs aren’t replacing “mainstream media,” they’re enhancing it and expanding it — connecting it to the conversations that are going on around it and through it and with it. Blogs take stories and commentary from the traditional media and extend them out into the world. Arguing that blogs will replace the traditional media is like saying forks are going to replace spoons.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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