(Words in italics appear in the glossary under 'REDUNDANT TERMS'.)
In the early part of the 21st Century, newspapers (printed with ink on paper) still existed. Although some recycled materials were used, the environmental costs associated with their production and distribution were astronomical.
An even greater threat to their survival were the inherent delays. A morning paper could, by its very nature, not include up-to-date reports of unfolding news. With the internet able to report events as they were taking place, the news in papers was no longer new enough.
Features and reviews, previously penned by professionals accustomed to dictating public taste, were far from immune to the changing face of journalism. Anyone with access to a computer and internet connection (in those days the computer was a large box that needed to be plugged into a phone line with wires) was able to publish information and express opinions and make them available across the globe at the press of a button on a keyboard.
The advent of weblogs, known as blogs, hastened the demise of traditional roles within journalism. Bloggers could publish posts on any subject and others could comment on the issues raised in a form of collectively-owned interactive debate.
Many in the industry embraced the inevitable changes and adapted. Others, terrified by the unregulated (and interactive) nature of the World Wide Web prophesied falling standards and anarchy. (See here and here.)
It was no surprise that many of those who had previously enjoyed a heightened status as the sole repository of access to information and opinion felt threatened. Some worked hard to undermine the importance of blogging, provoking much debate. (See here and here . For some of the responses, see here and here and here and here. ) At this time people still believed that if someone was paid to do something like write a review, this exchange of money was in itself a guarantee of quality. The amateurs of the blogosphere argued that, as they were not accountable to bosses or advertisers, their contributions were more likely to be honest.
Within the blogosphere as well, sparks flew as the bloggers strove to identify the parameters within which they operated. This led to some unpleasant spats. One blogger, for example, when debating the independance and integrity of online reviewers, was denounced as a nitwit and a slattern!
The power of the blogosphere was such, however, that newspapers soon became extinct, with the majority of people preferring to have a diversity of sources for their information. Although there were inevitably many blogs of limited interest or dubious content, people felt able to make informed choices as to whom they trusted.
New communities of like-minded individuals sprang up, whose members were able to reach out and speak directly with one another for the first time. They dealt with rogue elements (see the comments here) in a show of collective strength and created a world where ordinary people were empowered to combat injustice and bring about radical change, heralding the advent of the brave new world in which we live today.