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."