In his latest Harvard Crimson article, Matthew Gline writes about reasons he thinks we should be concerned about the rise of blogs. He writes:
Still, one reason blogs can be so much faster than newspapers is that the latter puts forth an effort to be balanced and well fact-checked, so it's worth our time to read them and keep our eyes open for incongruities in blog coverage and for stories that might be worthwhile despite a dearth of attention.
The fact that Regret The Error focuses on the newspaper industry is not surprising. Many blogs incorporate newspaper and magazine articles. While Gline looked at Technorati's Popular Blogs, it might have been more instructive for him to look at the popular search terms, the majority of which consistently have to do with politics. The most popular news stories are also dominated by political news stories.
In general, blogs are interesting not because they contain examples of original investigative journalism that have been fact-checked by multiple editors, but because they contain interesting commentary. The post by Ethan Zuckerman that Gline mentioned in his article was not interesting because Zuckerman had gone to the DRM protest in New York, or because he had interviewed a Sudanese refugee, but because he made an interesting connection between the two events.
Gline's point about blogs being too technology-oriented might be valid if it were the case that every blog was about technology. I would be no better well informed about politics and local affairs if i only read the Technology section of the New York Times than if I limited my news to Engadget or Slashdot. Conversely, someone who read a wide variety of blogs might be better informed than someone who read just one or a few newspapers, as the blog-reading person would be exposed to a wide variety of news sources. I have neither the time nor inclination to read the Christian Science Monitor, so I rely on Ethan Zuckerman to tell me about interesting articles in it. Similarly, it would be impossible for me to read about all of the information available online and in print about the new dual core Centrino processors, so I use Slashdot for concise descriptions and links to further reading material. I do not expect to be able to absorb all of the information being produced daily, but I believe the news sources I read are enough to give me a balanced view of the world.