Monday, March 24, 2008

Frickin Cool

So far so good on the no newspapers thing. Though I did sneak a glance at the post-gazette yesterday and noticed this interesting piece about just how screwed up politics are in my native Mt. Lebo.

The hunt for better news and information through blogs registered one HUGE victory that more then makes up for it's failure to keep track of little old Lebo. About a month ago I went through the process of filling out my absentee ballot form for the upcoming primary. A friend of mine asked me to help him through the process too. I gave him the form and he asked me an interesting question, "What district am I?" That proved harder to determine then you might think.

A week or so later I noticed a post by Chris (not Sid) Briem on his blog where he had a map of the voting districts. I commented to ask if he had a good map with the districts overlayed on a street map, so I could find out what district my friend lives in. Chris didn't have such a map, but the man is not easily deterred, actually producing a google maps overlay!!! He discusses the overlay in this post. It loads slowly, but it's worth the wait.

I take two lessons from this. First, Chris Briem rules. Second, there is a lot of power in using the blogosphere as a collaborative organ for digesting and creating information. I think there will always be a need for payed journalists, I just think we need to find a way to integrate the worlds to create a more optimized way to distribute information. I know, this is vague, but I'm still forming opinions on how to do this.

Related Readings to Think On:
  • Al Gore's Assault on Reason - He talks extensively (between ridiculously long whiny rants about how he would have been a better president then GWB) about how one way media platforms (primarily TV) have kept the average American from being an active participant in the information age. It's a good read, though there are entire chapters that are skipable.
  • An interesting post from Jim Russell (another long-time Burgh Blogger) on the starting of a regional newspaper and whether or not a regional newspaper has a place in the transition to "new media."

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