We have met the enemy and he is us
You've heard the cable news mantra, "all the news all the time", but what about "all the news on Iraq all the time"? The Observer looks at Eason Jordan's new startup, the Iraq Slogger.
In the clash between media culture and media counterculture, Mr. Jordan suddenly looked like Patty Hearst. His 23-year CNN career was over; his 18-year marriage ended in divorce. After a lifetime in Georgia, he relocated to New York, to a roomy loft in Soho—with maps of Baghdad, Mosul and Tikrit on the wall inside the entrance. And he was blogging. When a Reporters Without Borders representative said it was "idiotic" to blame sectarian violence on the media, Mr. Jordan wrote that the spokesperson was "dead wrong," and that some Iraqi outlets "explicitly incite violence."
IraqSlogger combines media analysis with original reporting, drawing on a small team of reporters in the U.S. and a network of Iraqi sources. "It was clear from my own time in Iraq—and I've been there 16 times—that while there's no shortage of people with guns, there is a shortage of information that is reliable and timely," Mr. Jordan said.
The mainstream media -- in its old form -- has already surrendered. And beating that old image is like firing an artillery concentration on an abandoned position. It's dead already. Once there was the expectation that the blogosphere would rival the MSM. But what happens when the MSM acquires some of the characteristics, indeed becomes functionally indistinguishable, from parts of the blogosphere? Then, as I have argued in the past, the difference becomes largely meaningless and it all comes down to the business model and the information architecture. I'm not certain that Eason Jordan's Iraq Slogger will become "the model", but its a fair bet that it represents a migratory trend away from the traditional system. During a recently concluded conference in Israel which I attended, a lot of ideas were thrown up about ways to combat the Jihad's information war. One answer was to let the private sector do it. The information landscape is changing, probably forever. And the cast of characters in the information war is changing too. The challenge now is to find ways to identify the most effective models and to finance them -- just like one would on any other business. And that will probably happen on both sides of the war.