old media stays losing
BBC journalist Philippa Thomas was on vacation last week. She happened to sit in on a panel at Harvard. One of the participants said something interesting, and so Thomas blogged about it. The next day Barack Obama was asked if he agreed with said participant's comments. On Sunday, that participant--State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, who had said that the treatment of Bradley Manning was "ridiculous, counter-productive & stupid"--resigned.
The story itself really isn't all that fascinating as a study in the effects of new media. In the age of WikiLeaks & James O'Keefe, a blogger bringing down a public figure isn't quite the big deal it used to be--what's really fascinating is that Thomas, a BBC reporter who pointedly uses the phrase "as broadcasters" in her post, thinks it's fascinating. In her post following up on the events of the weekend she writes of watching the sources of her incoming links mutate:
I could see the sources for the thousands of readers coming to my blog. They began coming purely via social media tools – Reddit and Twitter. Then via the websites of big media brand names – primarily the BBC and the Guardian. Hundreds at a time came from new media outposts like the Huffington Post, Salon and The Daily Kos. I knew that a lot of Washington insiders were across it when readers began clicking through from politico.com and washingtonpost.com . Today the New York Times website has so far sent another hundred and thirty readers my way.
Certainly there's some interest in getting an inside view of the viral-to-mainstream spread of an important story, but I find this a much more telling exposure of the degree to which old media types are still learning about how this stuff works.