The big picture
: Glenn Reynolds suggests in his latest TCS column that the embed program has been “a disaster for the networks” because all those reporters in the field are giving us the trees, but we never get to see the forest. (I thought that’s what anchors were paid the big bucks to provide, no?)
Glenn says that weblogs can knit together these strands of reporting into that bigger picture because they converse with — and add to — each other. Thus he laments the lack of weblogs from the networks.
I’ll take this one step further.
We’ve seen an earthshattering change in the flow of information in this war: We used to have too little information and too much of it was stale. Now we have too much information and too much of it is still uncooked, still not confirmed. So there is greater confusion.
Now you’d think that a weblog is the perfect device to solve that. And it is a good device, but it’s still imperfect. I read Glenn himself and curse that he has a life (how dare he!) and so I don’t get the benefit of his editing of the world and his perspective for as long as an hour at a time! So I go to the amazing Command Post but I get overdosed; I need somebody to blog that blog for me. As to my own war weblog, I find that I can’t keep up with it all.
What to do?
A wise big media operation would start a weblog newsroom — a 24/7 operation that goes out and finds the best on the web, categorizes it, and updates it (giving you all that late-breaking Geraldo news). It’d be a helluva lot cheaper than running an actual newsroom because all you’re doing is linking, not reporting. And it would provide a real service in a time such as this. Individuals and distributed bunches of amateur webloggers can’t do this as well (because we have jobs and lives and need to eat). Nobody can afford to start up such a stand-alone operation (for the demand lasts only as long as the big story). So the ideal company to do it is a big media operation — a TV network, a cable network, a wire service, a national newspaper, somebody who would benefit from having the best of this worldwide web of reporting all in one place. They can hire experienced webloggers (who don’t even need to work in the same office) and with them create the best news site on the web.