Bloggers Take Their Rightful Place
By Fernando M. Pinguelo and Danielle Walker
One of the greatest opportunities in a journalist’s career is to be part of the White House Press Corps where select reporters cover White House press briefings and press releases. An even a greater honor is to be called on to ask the President of the United States a question during a press conference. And with the sustained popularity of this President thus far—early tracking numbers reveal that more people watched last night’s press conference than those who watched the recent season premiere of American Idol – the opportunities magnify beyond one’s wildest dreams.
On February 9, 2008 Helen Thomas, an eighty-eight-year-old reporter for the Hearst Newspaper, was given this opportunity for the tenth time in her career. Seeing as how Helen Thomas has questioned presidents as far back as John F. Kennedy, President Barack Obama said to Thomas: “All right, Helen, this is my inaugural moment here” with a smile on his face. The President’s comment made a light joke and made it seem as if it were he who was honored to answer her question.
Obama calling on and answering a question from Thomas was not surprising. What shocked many was the next person Obama called on, 26-year-old Sam Stein who recently was made the Whitehouse Correspondent for the Huffington Post, the news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer. The Huffington Post started as a liberal blog only three years ago, and has become popular internationally and has had impressive numbers – up to fourteen million visits per month. While the Huffington Post has been more focused recently on making itself more of an “Internet Newspaper,” it is a blog at heart.
This was the first time in American history where a blog reporter had been called on to ask the president a question during a press conference, beating out some the top mainstream newspapers and magazines such as Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and Time, to name a few.
This is an extraordinary accomplishment for a blog that is only a few years old, regardless of one’s political viewpoint; and is just one example of how technology is allowing opportunities for things such as blogs to get national recognition. Once viewed as fringe, blogs are taking their rightful place alongside traditional media outlets. Today, because we rely so heavily on the use of the internet, blogs have become more mainstream and are being used more frequently as a way of getting valuable information, as well as, voicing opinions. So with that, we note this accomplishment and recognize it as paving the way for bigger and better opportunities for fellow bloggers.
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