Over a decade ago, two bloggers proved that investigative journalism isn’t reserved for the mainstream media. In 2004, Scott Johnson and Charles Johnson became whistle-blowers, questioning a “60 Minutes” report containing what seemed to be false documents about President George W. Bush’s Air National Service. In a Washington Post article following the discovery, one blogger called the scandal, “the blog’s breakthrough moment.” In the thirteen years since the scandal, blogs have only become more prevalent in today’s society and have found a spot in journalism that continues to grow.
While blogs have their notable and obvious downfalls such as a lack of editors to fact-check or even filter content, the internet age has allowed blogs to rise in credibility as well as popularity. Advertisement and donations from subscribers has allowed blogs the capital to bring in professionally trained journalists, giving sites credibility, but also reporters with practical and ethical skill sets. In the case of “The Intercept”, an independent news source, award-winning blogger Glenn Greenwald was brought on by billionaire Pierre Omidyar to help found the site. This multi-million dollar investment shows the quick evolution of the blog from a single reporter in their own home, to a driving force, focused on ground-breaking journalism.
If there is anything blogs have always had on their side, it is speed. The Washington Post article highlights that the first post questioning the “60 Minutes” report appeared less than four hours after the segment aired. Even in modern times, when the online newspaper is eclipsing it’s print counterpart, there are only so many reporters in the newsroom. This ties in with the passion with which bloggers approach their topic. In a time when the number of reports in a newsroom is being cut, those remaining are stretched thinner between multiple beats. The internet is filled with what seems to be an endless supply of blogs, meaning there is someone out there who cares about eh topic willing to cover it.
As blogs continue to grow in size and add professional journalists to their ranks, it won’t be surprising to see more cases in which bloggers become whistle-blowers not only for the government, but also for their mainstream competition.