I really have no business posting anything to my blog today, so I'm going to keep it short, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to congratulate Joshua Micah Marshall and the other folks at the Talking Points Memo and TPM Muckraker. On Tuesday TPM won a George Polk Award for their coverage of the US Attorney General scandal last year. Muckracker—and more to our point here, its readers—not only helped break the story, but proved the stunning efficacy of distributed reporting by delving through thousands of e-mails and internal documents released by the DOJ. If you're not a journalist (and maybe even if you are), the Polk award won't ring any bells. Suffice to say it's a big enough deal that by recognizing TPM the traditional journalistic establishment is essentially also recognizing that powerful new forms of journalism are emerging.
I won't recount the whole story, which can be found at the NYTimes, but here's Dan Kennedy's take:
Dan Kennedy, a media critic who teaches at Northeastern University, has followed the site from its inception. What Talking Points Memo does, he said, “is a different kind of journalism, based on the idea that my readers know more than I do.”
Writing on a blog for his journalism students, Mr. Kennedy called the announcement of the Polk award “a landmark day for a certain kind of journalism.” Talking Points Memo, he said, “relentlessly kept a spotlight on what other news organizations were uncovering and watched patterns emerge that weren’t necessarily visible to those covering just a small piece of the story.”
He added, “This is crowd sourcing — reporting based on the work of many people, including your readers.”