What’s old is new(s) again

I once read a twovolume history of the Washington press corps. (I guess I was between relationships at the time.) Few of the anecdotes in the books have stuck in my brain sufficiently to be of much use at parties. But one overarching theme I do remember is just how much journalism changed from one century to the next. 

At the start, newspapers operated in service of political parties, dependent on printing contracts that underwrote their newspapering. It wasn’t until the 20thcentury that objective journalism took hold.

That won’t be exactly news to anyone who has read a biography of Thomas Jefferson, I realize. I bring it up because my favorite blog, Bleeding Heartland, strikes me as a bit of a hybrid, and I wonder when there’s a volume of political reporting written about the 2000s whether it will feature news outlets like it.

There are no gifs. The photos are often uncompelling (there is an appealingly quirky Wildflower Wednesday feature). And the graphics look like something even I could do, and I need to call the IT guy over every time I fill out an expense report. 

But it has the crucial element all blogs (or magazines or newspapers for that matter) must have: good content. 

It’s definitely news with a view. Not an official party organ but colored in support of Democrats. The name I assume is a play on the phrase “bleeding liberal” and hints at frustration with rural America’s rightward tilt.

But the main author, Laura Belin, backs up her analysis with objective facts. It’s smart stuff that supplements coverage provided by the Des Moines Register, which no longer has the firepower that once made it one of the great regional papers in the country. Here’s a series Laura wrote after the most recent mid-term election.

Is this the wave of the future? I think anyone interested in Iowa politics would benefit from reading Laura’s blog. But is anything lost if this model becomes the new standard and the influence of the newspapers that we grew up with continues to wane?

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