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Hugh Hewitt - Principal Contributor

Mr. Hewitt is senior member of theOneRepublic & editorial board. [go to Hewitt index]

Flogging Blog
Explaining the blog effect to the media…

[Hugh Hewitt] 1/27/05

I flogged Blog on Fox & Friends at 6:50 AM Monday morning, then strolled up the frigid Avenue of the Americas and flogged it again on CNN. Soledad O'Brien did the CNN interview and all three Fox hosts participated. Very professional sit-downs on both sets, as one would expect from these folks, but one question seemed to me to be on everyone's minds: "Bloggers aren't journalists and so they are not accountable, right?" I'll check a transcript if one is posted when I get back to California, but I think that is pretty much how the question was posed, as opposed to the more neutral: "Are bloggers journalists?"

[CNN transcript here. Scroll down.]

On both sets I tried to explain blogosphere accountability, and I may have been a touch short with Ms. O'Brien when I pointed out I have been a journalist for 15 years, in television, radio, print, and now text, and that of all the platforms, the blogosphere was the most accountable. The blogosphere has tremendous forces working to assure accuracy and almost instant correction of error, so that the blogosphere is really far more accountable than any of the other platforms. Its opinions are sharp, as are the elbows, but there are very few hidden biases. They are all out in the open.

Trying to figure out a short definition of what a blog is, I have instead decided to answer that question by telling interviewers and audiences what bloggers do. A blogger is a "cyber sherpa," and when I used it on CNN I think it was instantly understood --at least by folks who know that sherpas guide people up the big mountains. We are living with a new avalanche of information every day, and the bloggers are the guides for the people who trust them, no matter what their area of expertise. It is that simple, though the ramifications are tremendous which is why I put the book out in the first place.

I also pointed the CNN audience to this morning's lead story in the New York Times' business section on the shortage of internet advertising space: "Internet News Sites are Back in Business." Where are advertisers going to find the space --meaning eyeballs-- that they desire? Bloggers of course. I was kicking this around with Andy Borowitz in the green room. Andy was a couple of years behind me at Harvard, and he was kind enough to reference my decade with PBS in Los Angeles which led to an interesting discussion of sites with blog ads like this one and those that go with subscription models, as Andy's does. The advertising community is only dimly aware of the demographics of the blogging audience, and as that recognition grows, so will the demand for blog ads.

Now it is back to California. Was a hectic and delay-filled weekend jaunt to NYC worth two appearances of 4 and 6 minutes? It depends on factors I could never glimpse at least for years. If the right executive heard my pointer about GM and Boeing blogging initiatives, it might have been, not in terms of books sold but in terms of new initiatives. And if FNC's or CNN's brass were listening, they hopefully will be asking whether they need to take another look at the entire issue. tOR

copyright 2005 Hugh Hewitt


theOneReublic Principal Contributor Hugh Hewitt is an author, television commentator and syndicated talk-show host of the Salem Radio Network's Hugh Hewitt Show, heard in over 40 markets around the country. He blogs regularly at and he frequently contributes opinion pieces to the Weekly Standard.

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