I agree with John Birmingham that there has to be a model for paying real journalists exposing important stories about which we need to know for our democracy to function – and that mixing their work in with celebrity fluff isn’t it. But I think he could have picked a better example of a “worthy” story that hasn’t received enough attention:

Can blogs replace some of the reportage and analysis done by the old metropolitan media? Of course they can. If you can choose which of the hundreds of millions of blogs currently available to follow.

Will the world stop turning, will the skies rain down fiery poison toads on us all if old-school newspapers just go away? No, probably not.

But something will be lost. After all, it wasn’t a blogger who broke the story of Craig Thomson and problems within the Health Services Union. It was a couple of Herald journalists working the phones, wearing down shoe leather, chasing a story that powerful interests wanted to keep quiet.

I don’t think TMZ.com has managed that yet. Although I haven’t checked for any up skirt Lohan coverage recently.

Coverage related to the quality of Craig Thomson’s tenure at the HSU before he joined the parliament has become the equivalent of a political up-skirt story.

Instead of covering the legislation the parliament is actually passing or debating, the Canberra press gallery has been obsessed for months over a personality-based side-issue. There are 150 MPs in the Parliament, and the amount of time devoted to one, in relation to something he may or may not have done before entering parliament, in relation to something over which he has not even been charged – that’s a case study in exactly why the people who do want to be informed about the substantive matters of government are no longer keen to pay the old mastheads for their coverage of it.

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