Turns out, Drudge was right about where journalism was heading.
“We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices,” he said in the speech. “Every citizen can be a reporter.” Later, he added: “The Net gives as much voice to a 13 year old computer geek like me as to a CEO or Speaker of the House. We all become equal. And you would be amazed what the ordinary guy knows.”
A look back at the last two presidential elections proves Drudge’s point. The biggest story of the 2008 campaign was Barack Obama’s comments about rural voters’ tendency to “cling to guns or religion”, which was broken by Mayhill Fowler, a Democratic donor and a part of Huffington Post’s citizen journalism program. The biggest story of the 2012 campaign was Mitt Romney’s comments about the “47 percent”, remarks that were recorded by a bartender at the event for high-dollar donors.
In each case someone not traditionally thought of as a “journalist” unearthed the material. And, while the mainstream media helped turn those pieces of information into stories that drove weeks worth of news cycles, none of that would have been possible without the initial spark.
“The Internet is going to save the news business,” Drudge proclaimed. “I envision a future where there will be 300 million reporters…where anyone can report from anywhere for any reason.”