Or at least they were.
Apparently according Tom Glocer's Blog post, blogging is changing the media landscape by creating a two way pipe of communication. [on a personal note, a one way pipe isn't communication but dictation].
Benefits include such things as more accountability (or at least getting caught out seems to be more likely as per the Hajj photo example), no-one has a choke hold on information flow (i.e consumers get to chose) and immediacy (everyone is a potential producer!)
The downside? How can you trust the internet and amateurs (hmmm, wasn't there something about accountability in the benefit list?).
The argument goes that professionals bring something extremely important to a story, a professional code, standards and a brand. What is needed is that news providers become the trusted source in this plural media universe!
Hang on, I thought news providers were once the trusted source? Is this a case that now a different source is available (i.e. the internet) the news providers have lost the trust of the public. Now the news providers want us to go back to trusting them?
Horse, Door, Stable, Bolted ....
There would seem to be an obvious need for canonical sources of information and reputation based curators - who those curators are, well the public will decide. That's democracy for you.
Does this mean the crowd will make a wise choice? Well, they'll either make an almost perfectly right or wrong one (Marquis de Condorcet, 1745-1794) depending upon whether they have enough information and the accuracy of the information.
So I suppose the real question is whether the news providers will spend enough marketing dollars to get themselves elected?
I'm guessing they will.