The Washington Post reporters who took down President Nixon changed the image of journalists from news reporters to law enforcers. (I sometimes wonder, though, if Nixon were a Democrat, would Watergate have brought him down?)
Thirty years later, the bloggers now do to the the same to reporters. Katharine Seelyes has a nice summary of recent events in a New York Times story Bloggers as news media trophy hunters hosted at CNET.
Fascinating what happens with this new form of reporting opens the aperture wide open, and hundreds of de facto experts-turned-reporters are unleashed to examine every aspect of a story -- in a way that traditional reporters, who are experts in almost nothing, have failed.
(Point of irritation: this morning I read an item about Shaw, one of two major cable operators in Western Canada, starting digital phone service in Calgary, Alberta. The article, by Canadian Press, noted that this would be a challenge to the local telephone monopoly of Bell Canada. Sorry, but Bell Canada's monopoly is local to Central Canada -- Ontario and Quebec; Telus has the monopoly in Alberta.)
I recently finished reading "We the Media. Grassroots journalism by the people, for the people" by Dan Gillmor. It was a bit of a disappointment; it read more like a primer for the clueless (so save your money and read it free online). Still, I was reassured to read a mention of a Washington DC blogger who specializes in plumbing the depths of obscure public documents.