Fort Wayne has a swinger's club. It has its own Web site, which includes rules for swingers and photos of the inside of the place.
You may like that or be disgusted by it or feel indifferent. But it's news. It was reported not in one of the newspapers or by a TV or radio news team, but on the Fort Wayne Observed blog of Nathan Gotsch. He saw a wire story about a swinger's club in another city, and somewhere in the story it mentioned there were a few other swinger's clubs in the state, including one in Fort Wayne. So Nathan did some Internet searching, and even talked to a county health official who hadn't heard about the club.
I've written before (and I think I mentioned it on Nathan's podcast interview with me) that things will really change in the Web world (and, consequently, in the mainstream-media world) when blogs stop being mostly for opinion and media criticism and begin doing more original reporting. We're starting to see the leading edge of that revolution even here in Fort Wayne. My fellow News-Sentinel colleague Jon Swerens has a blog and is using it to report from Mississippi, where he is helping out at the Katrina-ravaged Biloxi newspaper. Local blogger Robert Rouse used his Left of Centrist blog to post about his trip to the Washington peace march. These both involve accounts related to news events, with first-hand reporting, not available anywhere else.
Just imagine all those millions of blogs out there. Many of the people who write them (at no cost or a small cost, depending on which blog service they use) have inexpensive digital cameras and recorders (even cell-phone cameras are adequate). They're not just "bloggers." They are also publishers, without the need to invest millions of dollars in print or broadcast equipment.
Talk about "back to the future" -- the days of the penny press are here again, only more so. Whole new world, folks.