The RMA’s own Joshua Sharf has developed into a reliable source for the local mainstream media on issues related to blogging. Kudos to the Denver Post for acknowledging the credibility and value of this burgeoning alternative media – specifically, Jim Hughes’ article today on PirateBallerina‘s persistent pressure on Ward Churchill and the University of Colorado.
Most significant in the story is the contrast between an academic’s warped, myopic view (notably from a professor of journalism) and a blogger’s insightful comments from a clear and lofty perspective. First:
Johansen, who teaches journalism, said in an e-mail that Paine’s gotchas are baseless and that he walked away from the committee because of what he saw as a nasty media environment surrounding the Churchill story, he said.
“Some in the Denver media seem to have surrendered their critical faculties to the bloggers,” he said. “Paine steps up, rings his little bell and the dogs come running – or so it seems. From the outside, the level of hysteria is almost comical. As for myself, I wondered what has become of a sense of simple decency. … A blog can be a democratizing influence, for sure, but so is a lynch mob.”
But Joshua Sharf, a Colorado blogger who follows politics at View From a Height, credits Paine with discovering important information that mainstream journalists have missed.
“It would behoove (journalists) to check out these guys who are on the committee on their own,” he said. “It’s not like Paine had to rifle through their desks to find this stuff. It was obviously out there to be found. To the extent that the reporters didn’t find it first, that’s where I think the process fell apart.”
Joshua has already followed up the story with some extended remarks. Both the story and his observations are well worth reading.