I have to admit I hate lists. I gag and gurgle at the end of the year, when people come up with the Top 10 R&B Albums, the Top 10 Horror Flicks or the Top 10 Reasons to Read this News-Free Magazine. But that hasn't stopped me from doing this again and again.
So here we go again. This column is an attempt to show which Weblogs are influencing the media the most. That's really a vague idea, but that gives me latitude to be wrong just enough to bring your catcalls and counterarguments (please click the "Speak Up" button to the left).
This past year has seen the world of Weblogs, aka the blogosphere, grow in power and stature, if not to the general public, then to the other media. On Iraq. On Trent Lott. On The New York Times scandals. So we've created a graphical depiction of what I believe are the most influential blogs, pushing the direction of media coverage and perhaps even public policy. These blogs are either focused on the business of media, current events, politics or some combination of the three. They cover the media or have been covered by the media.
While the final decision on what made the list was up to me, I did do some semiscientific research, looking at Daypop's Blogstats, Blogdex, and canvassing many of the bloggers who made the cut. I also asked them to provide their own Top 10 lists of the most influential blogs on the media, and a selection is included. (When I let them include themselves in the list, almost every one of them did.) Finally, as an added bonus, I've tried to list some of the most blogged media outlets online -- that is, the news sources that bloggers love to link (usually tearing them to shreds).
Note that the bigger the mouth, the more influential the Weblog. The position of the mouth shows its political orientation (left or right) and whether it's doing more blogging (top) or more journalism (bottom). "More blogging" means a focus on linking, summarizing and quips. "More journalism" means more original commentary, reporting and perhaps a journalism background.
I realize that the conservative/liberal labels and continuum are old-fashioned and there are more dimensions to most people. And the definition of blogs and how they intersect with journalism are open questions at this moment in time. Those concerns aside, I really just wanted to create something thought-provoking and perhaps useful and fun.
And gosh-darnit, if the Chicago Tribune can pick the best 50 magazines, why can't I pick the top Weblogs?