Check this out: a long bet between blog pioneer and the web guru at the International Herald Tribune's owner, the NYT: the results are in - http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/news/3302/long-bet-winner-weblogs-vs-new-york
Here's the noise, and an idea that anyone who has ever been the subject of a news story in the MSM will probably agree with:
There's another fatal flaw in the bigpub approach to journalism, that the reporter doesn't really need to know anything about the topic he or she is covering. If the reader doesn't know the technical details, the writer doesn't need to know either. But when I see the Times cover areas I am expert in, and miss the point completely, I wonder how well they're informing me in areas where I am a neophyte. I'm not from Missouri, I'm from Queens, but I still need to be shown that they are doing their jobs responsibly. I'm not impressed, so I look elsewhere for real news, and soon most other people with minds will too.
My bet with Martin Nisenholtz at the Times says that the tide has turned, and in five years, the publishing world will have changed so thoroughly that informed people will look to amateurs they trust for the information they want.
I loved this follow up comment:
"... our most trusted source on the biggest news stories of 2007 is a horde of nameless, faceless amateurs who are not required to prove expertise in the subjects they cover."
That's pretty much the definition of "journalist."
(Incidently, I speak from a position of authority, having hired many a nameless, faceless amateur who was not required to prove their expertise in the subjects they covered for many many years as a newspaper publisher.)