The News Blogger Who Rules

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by: Nancy Baym

The New York Times ran an article this week about a phenomenon I’d entirely missed: the 21 year old blogger who has become the go-to source about the TV News industry. We don’t normally think of news junkies as fans, but how else to describe reminiscences such as this:

Growing up in Damascus, Md., Mr. Stelter watched the news addictively. He recalls watching Mr. Williams, who was then at MSNBC, reporting on the crash of T.W.A. Flight 800, the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the revelation that President Bill Clinton was entangled with Monica Lewinsky. Meanwhile, Mr. Stelter practiced his “newscaster voice” and harbored anchor-size ambitions of his own.

“I always thought I would be the person who sat in the chair for 12 hours,” Mr. Stelter said. “Then I realized there are only three people who do that job.”

He finally got to meet Mr. Williams last year when he came to New York to attend a memorial service for Mr. Jennings. Mr. Williams invited him to sit in on his broadcast’s 2:30 p.m. editorial meeting, and the two talked privately for a half-hour.

So in 2004 he started blogging about the industry, and now if he turns off his cell phone to go to class, he turns it back on to find messages from major news networks ticked off that he was unavailable:

The network publicists generally know his class schedule — afternoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays — and barrage him with material, which they often expect him to post within minutes. While recording a radio segment for one of his classes — Mass Communication 381 — he turned his cellphone off for 15 minutes, then turned it back on to find one nagging voice mail message from an ABC publicist and another from CNN.

Fascinating example of someone who never could have had any influence pre-internet able to become a major voice because his passion and the technology combined to make him heard. His blog is here.

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