Lexblog has an interesting post about how blogs can be more powerful than the traditional press. The differentiator is the ability to communicate almost immediately with readers through blogs and other new media. Another factor that scales blog-based news services is the practice of crowd-sourcing their news gathering efforts although we are starting to see this beginning to happen with traditional media, for example Mail & Guardian’s photo site.
I don’t see blogs overtaking the traditional press in South Africa just yet. For one thing, the traditional press has far greater subscription numbers and until we see more people online, blogs and other new media sites will have a way to go before overtaking them. Just the same, this is really a preview of things to come. At some point more South Africans will be online than aren’t and consuming content from the Web will become common. We are already seeing advertising spend overseas pick up quite a bit and the money generally flows to where the people are so let’s keep an eye on where advertisers are putting their client’s money.
Of course this trend is a good reason for the local independent publishing (blogs, podcasts and other user created content) community to start gettings its house in order. Advertisers are asking questions about blogging and when they look at what is going on in the local blogosphere, we don’t really want them to see chaos.