Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where in the World Is Matt Drudge?

A decade after he burst onto the national scene during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, [Matt] Drudge remains one of the most powerful figures in journalism. In the Web 2.0 era--with media outlets unveiling increasingly complex sites that feature multiple avenues for readers to contribute, from comments to Tweets--the Drudge Report doesn't look like much: just an old-fashioned layout consisting mostly of links to articles in other publications, alongside the occasional breaking news story of its own. And yet, because it draws up to 20 million hits per day--and, more importantly, because it is read religiously by Washington's reporters, political operatives, and cable news producers--the site retains a striking ability to dictate what appears in the mainstream press. Indeed, one of journalism's unofficial parlor games these days consists of mining Drudge's site for clues to his proclivities--so that one might figure out how to gain his favor and earn a valuable link.

Drudge owes both his stature and his accompanying fortune--sources believe he makes millions per year off his site--essentially to one thing: his appetite, during the Lewinsky era and afterward, for rummaging further into the lives of public figures than mainstream journalists were willing to go. And that's ironic when you consider the reason that his appearance at the Clinton concession speech created such a frenzy: For the past few years, Matt Drudge has gone almost completely underground. [Click for MORE]

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