Paul Bradshaw at Online Journalism Blog wrote a piece for Podnosh.com about hyperlocal bloggers and how they view their roles, particularly regarding local governments. Bloggers feel it’s their job to find information buried in city council websites and make it visible and presentable to their readers.
If this is not the root purpose of journalism enabling democracy, I don’t know what is.
Now, I’m writing from my viewpoint in South Korea as an expat. And this is definitely the role a lot of blogs play, at least part time. Gusts of Popular Feeling digs up statistics and historical periodicals to keep the local press and government in check while putting current issues in a broader context. Brian in Jeollanam-do, Chris in South Korea, Seoul City Blog and Roboseyo each have gone into government websites (one of them is a government website) to clarify issues regarding immigration and taxes. And a good many of these blogs have put the spotlight on collusions with government officials and police with a particular Korean anti-immigrant hate group.
In short, bloggers are the journalists that journalists should be.