Ben Jeffries

Ben Jeffires is a journalism student, blogger, and commentator.

When word got out that the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd accidentally published part of Josh Marshall’s blog under her own name in a column in the New York Times, more than one blogger reacted with unconcealed glee. It was an understandable error, but for some, a satisfying one nevertheless. After all, aren’t all bloggers supposed to be the mainstream media parasites?

No—Dowd’s accident is yet one more sign of how traditional media outlets are increasingly taking cues from the commentators that populate the blogosphere. And contrary to popular mythology, not everyone in the mainstream media believes this any longer.

This symbiosis has been a long time coming. But it’s increasingly evident every day as Internet-based reporters are increasingly setting priorities for the national news agenda. The American Prospect, lauded Murray Waas, a web reporter, for unearthing the truth about the outing of Valerie Plame and prodding the mainstream media onward in 2006. Jay Rosen crowned Murray Waas the “Woodward of now,” explaining that the actual “Woodward of now,” Bob Woodward, had somehow missed the story.