Media Sausage on the DSM

Does the blogosphere deserve the credit for pushing the Downing Street Memos story into the newscasts and pages of the national media? Yes and no, according to a nicely sourced account in the American Journalism Review, which details how and -- more to the point -- why so many in the media were so slow to cover it.

Some editors felt the memo didn't contain anything new, and others, who rely on the wires for such foreign stories, say they simply didn't have anything to publish. A few editors were wary about the story because they couldn't obtain a copy of the memo and weren't certain of its authenticity. Nonetheless, news executives and Washington reporters felt the mounting public pressure to get the document into the news.

It's instructive to see some of the inner workings of the minds of editors and producers as they gauge what's "real news" vs. an astroturf campaign or merely something that a bunch of people are interested in. (Excuse me if I choke on that particular sentiment, since I certainly didn't see the "news value" of the various white-woman-missing stories and other tabloid fodder.) And it's rewarding to see the journalists' growing awareness of the fine line between arrogance and responsible professionalism.