Time Names Power Line Blog of the Year

In an intriguing turn of events, Time has named Power Line its Blog of the Year.

More like “Year of the Blog”. As Time’s Lev Grossman writes:

Before this year, blogs were a curiosity, a cult phenomenon, a faintly embarrassing hobby on the order of ham radio and stamp collecting. But in 2004, blogs unexpectedly vaulted into the pantheon of major media, alongside TV, radio and, yes, magazines, and it was Power Line, more than any other blog, that got them there.

In case you’re not familiar with Power Line, it’s the blog that was instrumental in breaking the Dan Rather forged documents story earlier this year. Interestingly, it wasn’t the blog’s authors that really drove it. As Time wrote:

The story of how three amateur journalists working in a homegrown online medium challenged a network news legend and won has many, many game-changing angles to it. One of the strangest and most radical is that the key information in ‘The 61st Minute’ came from Power Line’s readers, not its ostensible writers. The Power Liners are quick, even eager, to point this out. “What this story shows more than anything is the power of the medium,” Hinderaker says. “The world is full of smart people who have information about every imaginable topic, and until the Internet came along, there wasn’t any practical way to put it together.”

Welcome to the world of participatory journalism. Glenn Reynolds (of InstaPundit fame) is already calling this the Power Line effect:

Now there is. A phenomenon like ‘The 61st Minute’ is the result of the journalistic equivalent of massively parallel processing. The Internet is a two-way superhighway, and every Power Line reader is also a Power Line writer, stringer, ombudsman and editor at large. There are 100,000 cooks in the kitchen, and more are showing up all the time. Call it the Power Line effect. Conventional media may have more readers than blogs do, but conventional media can’t leverage those readers the way blogs can. Want a glimpse of the future of blogs? The more popular blogs are, the stronger they get. And they’re not getting any less popular.