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THE VIEW FROM PAEONIAN SPRINGS
In The News...
Matt Drudge is changing our expectations.

by Michael H. Thomson
April 26, 2006

With 24-7 news, you would think that it would be difficult to find anything newsworthy that the networks haven't picked over. Actually, there is quite a bit of news out there that's not making it to ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, or CNN. At this juncture in human history we are probably in a better position to find news than ever before. The main reason is the computer. Even the smallest of newspapers have an online presence and remarkably – the news is original – and it's the mother lode.
 
Researching a project on small town newspapers, I came across some items that haven't made it to the national news. For the purposes of this article, I'm going to "Drudge" it. However, before I do, I wish to talk about Matt Drudge and what "Drudging" means.
 
Matt Drudge as some of you may or may not remember is the person who originally broke the Clinton-Lewinsky story to the chagrin of traditional journalists and the delight of news and gossip junkies. I "drudgingly" have to admit that I fall into those categories at times.
 
Traditional news now finds itself racing to keep up with Matt Drudge whose website, The Drudge Report, has over a billion viewers a year.   Matt Drudge for better or worse has changed the face of news. 24-7 news outlets, syndicated TV and radio talk show hosts, and the major networks always have an eye tuned to what shows up on The Drudge Report. Actually, Matt Drudge, for all the controversy he stirs, does not do anything special.
 
Tuning into the Drudge Report, a reader is normally confronted with an attention-grabbing headline, which is also a hyperlink to a story – not Matt Drudge's story but a story he or his staff have found among thousands of online sources from over the world. All Matt Drudge does is move the story to a position of prominence on his site thereby guaranteeing the website from which the story emanates will be saturated with "hits" – in some cases overwhelming the technical capabilities of the news outlet's web server.
 
Following the headline story, Drudge lists 25-30 linked stories with Matt's own unique headlines. It's the headlines of Matt's stories that grab readers' attention. Drudge covers the spectrum. Going to TV and other news sources Drudge is running sub-headlines on mumps, Britney Spears new pregnancy, missing plague-infested mice, a standing room only plan to transport passengers by Airbus, and several other stories which though titillating – are legitimate news - even though traditional news outlets would disagree.
 
I think the problem some snooty nosed journalists from the major media outlets have is that Matt Drudge has elevated ordinary stories into national prominence. Despite this, I suspect – judging from some of the news items that appear on national news -  that the media as in the Clinton-Lewinsky case, is following Drudge instead of staying ahead of him. Now to my own copycat report of southern regional newspapers:
 
Following the Drudge example, one afternoon I surveyed a number of online news outlets from across the South. Here are my headlines – Drudge style:
 
 
 
 
 
Matt Drudge – love him or hate him – with his computer and internet news sources has changed news forever. Horace Greeley is smiling…
 
Biographical Information on Matt Drudge
 
 


About the Author:
Mike Thomson tunes into Drudge about every three hours - just to keep up with what's going on...


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