So I'm one of Time's people of the year? Somebody would disagree.

As I'm recently reading about TIME magazine naming bloggers and youtube denizens as the person of the year, I recently had a note from a detractor to knock me off of my heady Man of the Year perch that wonderfully summed up all sorts of ignorance and and abject stupidity when it comes to politics (and blogging):
All you bloggers are is a bunch of ignorant self-important asses who spend your time
tearing down people. You are what make people hate politics, as you sit in your
underwear and talk about nothing positive. I think the world would be better off if you all just went away.

Well, there's the epitome of someone who doesn't "get it."

First off, I don't sit around in my underwear. (It's not a pretty sight). I finally wore out my spongebob jammies, and my wife bought me a "corona beer" pair for my birthday.

Second, and more to the point, while this anonymous person spends their time watching "entertainment tonight" and other television vapidness, I'm reading voraciously. I haven't picked up a book in months, but I read incredible amounts of newspapers and magazines, and even more on-line sources of information.

I might bitch about the Argus leader, but I read it from front to back at least once a day. And the same goes for the Pierre newspaper, the Rapid City Journal, all the on-line coverage from KCCR, KSFY, KELO, KDLT, and innumerable other sources. I love aggregators such as Google, and others. Why do you think I pay for an aggregator for this website. I use it to bring the news to me (and to you, the readers).

And I'd say the same goes for other South Dakota bloggers on the left and right. We digest huge amounts of information because we know something that some people who "think" they're in politics tend to forget. And that something that people who actually are in politics know is an absolute truth. Information is power.

It's why campaigns have always devoted staff to research. Knowing how you can draw a difference between your opponent is a vital part of any campaign. Knowing your weaknesses and strengths as compared to your opponents often means the difference between victory and defeat. On more than one occasion, news stories have cut short political careers.

To continue with my points, which would make this the third, blogs, and particularly political weblogs, have become an incredibly accessible front line in the back and forth of politics.

It used to be that the necessary reading were reporters and columnists. I recall during the 2002 campaign, I'd wait up until 2am - when the Argus would post their next day's news. Why? Because I needed to. What Dave Kranz said could either be nothing, or it could break news that sent the rest of the state media into a fury.

In 2006 (and 2007) it's been demonstrated over and over that this is no longer such an absolute case. The new media (bloggers, you tube, etc.) have now taken up a strong position on that front line.

We're extremely accessible to the public as far as being provided tips. We can break a story in the matter of minutes, so we're lightning fast. People don't have to wait a day or three to watch for breaking stories. In fact, the media watches us for hot tips on stories.

But don't take that as a slam against them. I would note that the relationship between the mainstream media and bloggers is very symbiotic. I have immense respect for reporters, and generally, bloggers talk a lot about what they write, and editorialize on those stories at great length. And while we talk about stories and scuff the surface, the MSM has the institutional credibility (60-70 years for broadcast news, and more than couple hundred years for newsprint) to dig into matters, whereas by the nature of the newness of the medium, we might tend towards superficiality.

As for my final point, if you're slamming blogs, give up your luddite ways, because we're going to pass you by. We're a future that quickly approaches.

Why do I think that? Look at what the mainstream media is doing, even here in South Dakota. They aren't ignoring us - they're becoming us. KELO, and especially the Argus, have been adding new media related web features willy nilly. In fact (while I'm not sure it translates well), the Argus has altered their print media to be more interactive and blog like.

The Rapid City Journal via Kevin Woster, Bill Harlan, and Denise Ross (who has now broken away to form her own blog) were trendsetters for SD media blogging with Mt. Blogmore, which continues to be wildly successful.

If you think about it, Denise Ross (while doing some writing for the Argus) herself recently set a precedent as the first blogger to cover a Governor's press conference exclusively for her blog.

So would "the world would be better off if (we) all just went away?" Well, I don't know that it's possible anymore. We're not just a bunch of pajama clad boobs as we've been described (even here in SD). We're becoming the media. Give us another 5-10 years, and CCK, SD Politics, SD Watch and SDWC will be as ubiquitous as KELO, the Argus Leader or WNAX.

So no, my anonymous friend. I'm not in my pajamas, and we're not going away. I'm a member of the new media.

Comments

That's tellin' 'em Professor!
That's tellin' 'em!
Anonymous said…
Someone out there is having more than a bad day. Horse and buggy days are gone..blogs are here to stay. Newspapers are becoming aware of this and can not keep pace with the internet and all the news stories. Long live SDWC and keep up the great work PP, we love you! Happy New Year, celebrate bloggers, celebrate!
Douglas said…
Some of your readers might wish to check my perspective on the YOU issue.

http://dakotatoday.typepad.com/dakotatoday/2006/12/hey_you_person_.html

There is still room for all kinds of blogs and there is still plenty of opportunity for hard unbiased news sources.
Todd Epp said…
Amen, Brother Pat! And who knows what other changes are in store for all of us as technology keeps racing ahead of what we can think to do with it.

Oh, I wish you all a very Merry Digital Christmas!

Todd Epp
Senior Gadgets Editor
S.D. Watch
http://thunewatch.squarespace.com
Anonymous said…
Of the five posters, three of which are webpage bloggers I read all of you.
By the way that does not mean that I agree with all three of you.
So to end this little non-important post.
I say to all Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and don't party to hard because morning can come early. To those who don't celebrate Christmas Happy Holidays.
JD
Greg Belfrage said…
You really don't think we are all a little self-absorbed? Even I, more egocentric and obnoxious than the rest of you, recognize the truth in that comment.

However, that doesn't mean we don't have something valuable to add to the public discourse.

Pat, you're now experiencing what I've encountered for years on the radio. Some people resort to personal attacks when they can't debate the substance of your comments.

I've heard the naysayers throughout my entire career in talk radio. You can't imagine how many times I've been told "nobody listens to your show" as the phones are ringing off the hook.

Just keep doing what you do as well as you do. Don't respond to the naysayers, as they love the attention. Just ignore them, as I do. It drives them nuts.

Merry Christmas, Pat. Keep the heat on!
Anonymous said…
PP, I hope you are not neglecting your family.
PP said…
I'm writing this from Brookings, so no.
Hambone said…
To PP and his fellow blogladites: I enjoy reading your posts and I rarely comment. I don't read all of them. Not all of them are interesting or informative - at least to me - and sometimes I think you add content so people regularly come back to sift through the rocks for that occassional gem. By the way, how many of your daily readers are the same people coming back for updates or to view the threads? You don't really think you have 950 different people checking you out daily, do you. I wouldn't be as harsh as the original critic, but I do at times grow a little tired when you Epp and the others get to slobbering all over yourselves about your role and impact with the media, your occasional scoop, and your bleating out for recognition and a seat at the big boy media table. You are able to affect discourse to some degree but your not exactly the Chicago Tribune, and yes I know you are only one guy. I suspect most of your visitors are pretty hardcore politicos. What you and the others are doing and its (no apostrophe) impact is hard to define because it is an evolving, creature. If I had to try at this stage I would say it is a quasi op-ed, interactive, virtual newsletter. I commend your efforts and your obviously well connected, but I think bloggers waste too much time trying to be ratified at a certain status which can't be attained because of the admitted and unchecked bias that is the collective bloggers' hole-in-the wall. Paradoxically, what makes you interesting are the same things that limit your widespread legitimacy - bias and lack of accountability. Epp seems particularly obsessed at this time with getting his ticket punched on the scoop train. In part because of the several solid soops you had during the election. He is constantly fawning about what is going on in the blogoshpere. He just floated the post about restructuring at the SDDP, you and other pick up on it, and lo and behold, its wrong. Yet the crumbs will continue to fall from your PB&Js', some hit the plate and some hit the floor. The challenge I think is to be fresh and accurate, which granted you do better than most. In closing, quit fretting about how you're perceived and keep doing what you obviously enjoy doing. Readers know what it is even if it is hard to define.

PSPP - Here's a hot news tip for the blog world. A study conducted by me of the various musings of Steve Sibson has revealed him to in fact be insane.

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