Five years ago, blogger Rogers Cadenhead recalls, blogging sorta-evangelist and RSS king Dave Winer made a long bet with Martin Nisenholtz, the senior VP for digital operations at the New York Times. The proposition was this: "In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times' Web site." The best part is, their arguments at the time both pro and con are pretty hilarious—because they've been rendered obsolete. Though technically one of them won, there was another real winner, Cadenhead points out.
By his count, blogs actually beat the Times in Google results. But someone else beat both of them:
Wikipedia, which was only one year old in 2002, ranks higher today on four of the five news stories: 12th for Chinese exports, fifth for oil prices, first for the Iraq war, fourth for the mortgage crisis and first for the Virginia Tech killings.
Winer predicted a news environment "changed so thoroughly that informed people will look to amateurs they trust for the information they want." Nisenholtz expected the professional media to remain the authoritative source for "unbiased, accurate, and coherent" information.
Instead, our most trusted source on the biggest news stories of 2007 is a horde of nameless, faceless amateurs who are not required to prove expertise in the subjects they cover.
Oh, Jimmy Wales, you Wiki-player! You gamed the system!