The lightbulb went off only today. This debate has very strong parallels to the arguments between traditional software developers and the open source crowd. Admittedly, there are also big differences, because developers are out to address very specific needs with code, while (one hates to say it) the purposes of journalism and blogging are less clear cut. Journalists like to think that their job is to inform, but what does that mean, exactly? Like it or not, a fair bit of entertainment has also crept into the profession. And perhaps most important, the decision of what is and isn't newsworthy is very much swayed by a media outlet's posture, prevailing social/community values, and (the dirty secret) the need to play by the rules of access journalism.
Hmmmm... having invented professional open source with JBoss :) I feel compelled to comment.
Blogging in general is similar to OSS in the way its output is based on others people input. Blogging is quick and because it is NOT VETTED it presents opinions across the spectrum faster than traditional media. It is the instant commentary mechanism that I find valuable. A news item comes out and the blogosphere churns out an output that is distributed across a bell curve of opinions. In that sense the Bazaar is there.
I like to sense opinion by looking at the distribution. For example let's say there is a news item on markets movement, I like to read blog commentary to see how much people agree or disagree on whether it will go up or down next week, there is a distribution and to me it is not only the "average" but the actual distribution that is interesting. If the opinions are tightly grouped and there is no dissent then it is a "fairly safe assumption" in how I manage my investments for example, this is the basis for momentum investing. If on the other hand there are drastic pieces (that still make sense I try to discard propaganda) then the issue is volatile and undecided. Then I trade volatility. News driven trading feeds off blogging as a distributed quorum sensing mechanism.
While the COLLECTIVE output has some characteristics of OSS, the individual output really isn't IMHO. The product of blogging is well... blogs. Individual entries about particular topics. A particular blog reflects the opinions of the individual not the collective. The product of OSS, meaning the ACTUAL SOFTWARE, IS a product built by individuals but what gets selected is done by a collective (or semi collective usually with meritocracy).
But this is where, in my not so humble opinion, Yves Smith's argument falls apart, the only thing that stands after 10 years in the OSS industry is in fact the peer review. The natural selection that happens in OSS: bad software gets weeded out by a collective brain. PEER REVIEW IS THE ONE AND ONLY MECHANISM IN OSS.
This peer review is in fact COMPLETELY ABSENT from blogging. And that is the mainstay of the argument made by the panel Yves comments on, that traditional journalism is PEER REVIEWED, while blogging isn't.