This week marked a quiet, but significant, milestone for the world of journalism done through blogs: Joshua Micah Marshall’s work on his widely-acclaimed Talking Points Memo was awarded a George Polk Award for Legal Reporting.
The Polk awards are astutely described by Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News as “the Golden Globes of American Journalism” on his Movable Type-powered blog. But the New York Times’ Noam Cohen points out that Marshall’s win, and indeed his team’s work as a whole, offers a decided contrast to the hoary oldÂ clichÃ©Â of the blogger as a pajama-clad guy with a more attitude than ideas.
To scores of bloggers, it was a case of local boy makes good. Many took it as vindication of their enterprise — that anyone can assume the mantle of reporting on the pressing issues affecting the nation and the world, with the imprimatur of a mainstream media outlet or not. And most reassuringly, it showed that fair numbers of people out there were paying attention.
At Six Apart, we’ve always believed that blogs are nothing more, and nothing less, than a new medium, native to the web and nimbler than the ones that preceded it. That means that, even though people have been falsely debating “blogs vs. journalism” for the better part of a decade, the truth has always been that this is just another medium in which a great journalist can do great work.
We’re thrilled that a distinguished member of our community has set this precedent. We know that it’s only a matter of time until similar honors, such as the Pulitzer Â Prizes, understand that it’s not the choice of medium that makes a work legitimate, but rather the efforts of those who care about sharing their ideas that define a work. And we build tools like Movable Type with the hope that they can be one small part of helping talented teams like the TPM staff achieve work that not only is on par with, but indeed can even eclipse, the best journalism in the world. Though it’s an infinitely smaller tribute in comparison to a Polk award, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mark the moment by naming Talking Points Memo as a Movable Type Featured Blog.
One footnote: As Joshua Marshall himself notedÂ after his win, a big part of why he’s been able to do so much with Movable Type is due to the help of an incredible team that typifies what the MT community is capable of: Apperceptive. He says, “[T]hey come with our strong recommendation. And if you’re looking for people who do this kind of work I’d be happy to answer your questions about our experience.” And as fellow MT blogger Jason Kottke notes, Apperceptive is “the little engine that runsÂ a large chunk of the professional blogosphere”. So our congratulations as well to the team that helps MT power some of the biggest sites in the blogosphere.