It is not really news any more, blogs are a major force in the news business. TPM has been a growing force in the political blogosphere for some time. International Herald Tribune reports on the recent recognition of Josh Marshall and his efforts at bringing out the US attorney firing scandals.

In the case of the U.S. attorney coverage, TPM linked to many local articles about U.S. prosecutors being forced from office and then drew the national picture for readers. TPM “connected the dots and found a pattern of federal prosecutors being forced from office for failing to do the Bush administration’s bidding,” the Polk award announcement said.

In addition to pursuing the tips from its readers, TPM has been known to give them assignments like wading through virtual piles of documents released by the Bush administration. “There are thousands who have contributed some information over the last year,” Marshall said in reference to the site’s U.S. attorney coverage.

Dan Kennedy, who teaches at Northeastern University and is a media critic who has followed TPM from its inception, said that what TPM did “is a different kind of journalism, based on the idea that my readers know more than I do.”

Writing on a blog for his journalism students, Kennedy proclaimed the Polk award “a landmark day for a certain kind of journalism.” TPM, he explained, “relentlessly kept a spotlight on what other news organizations were uncovering and watched patterns emerge that weren’t necessarily visible to those covering just a small piece of the story. This is ‘crowdsourcing’ – reporting based on the work of many people, including your readers.”

The tight relationship between readers connected to the various stories and the protection afforded by a journalist have allowed many stories to come out that would not have made it through typical mainstream media. Even this little blog has been quoted in the print and television news.