Jeff Jarvis, the creator of Entertainment Weekly, has an interesting article headlined "The news as conversation" about blogs, or what he calls "citizens' media." The most intriguing passage is about the effect of blogs at the local level. Relevant excerpt:
...I believe the real and lasting political impact of citizens' media will be felt locally, as town and state candidates use these tools to raise money, and get supporters out on the stump, and talk with voters. I don't know my state and county officials; do you know yours? A simple blog will help turn a faceless local pol into a neighbor and a campaign into a conversation.
Nationally and locally, candidates will continue to use blogs to get their messages to voters - bypassing the old gatekeepers of the news media. When enough candidates are elected because of blogs, we'll find this new medium creeping into government, too. I recently sent letters to my senator and congressman protesting the Federal Communications Commission's censorship of TV, and I waited weeks to get back letters explaining their positions. How much more efficient, informative and interactive it would be for those lawmakers to post their stands and responses on blogs for all their voters to see.