06/22/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Think Again: Blogosphere to Mainstream Media: Get Off the Bus (and Walk a Mile in Our Shoes)

Crossposted with the Center for American Progress

When word got out that the New York Times' Maureen Dowd accidentally published part of Josh Marshall's blog under her own name in a column in the New York Times, more than one blogger reacted with unconcealed glee. It was an understandable and obviously inadvertent error, but for some, a satisfying one nevertheless. After all, aren't bloggers supposed to be mainstream media parasites?

No -- Dowd's accident is yet another sign of how traditional media outlets are increasingly (and to their credit) taking cues from the reporters and commentators that populate the blogosphere. And contrary to popular mythology, not everyone in the mainstream media has been loath to admit this.

This symbiosis has been a long time coming. But it's increasingly evident every day as Internet-based reporters are increasingly setting priorities for the national news agenda. Greg Sargent, then at the American Prospect, lauded Murray Waas, an independent web reporter, for unearthing the truth about the outing of Valerie Plame and prodding the mainstream media onward in 2006. Jay Rosen crowned Waas the "Woodward of now," explaining that the actual "Woodward of now," Bob Woodward, had somehow missed the story....

You can read the rest of Eric Alterman and Danielle Ivory's analysis in their recent article, "Blogosphere to Mainstream Media: Get Off the Bus (and Walk a Mile in Our Shoes)."

Eric Alterman is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College. He is also a Nation columnist and a professor of journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. His seventh book, Why We're Liberals: A Handbook for Restoring America's Most Important Ideals was recently published in paperback. He occasionally blogs at

Danielle Ivory is a reporter and producer for the American News Project. She lives in Washington, D.C.

This column was recently named as a finalist in the category of "Best Commentary--Digital" for the Mirror Awards.