This issue of CN does a pretty uncritical cut-and-paste job of the BBOV, claiming more than 250 Lutheran blogs. Actually, the list printed in CN includes Aardie's Confessional Lutheran blogs as well as his other lists of links and non-Lutheran blogs.
CN continues to print cynical commentary on this growing media (and I can understand why "old media" is suspicious and perhaps even threatened by the "new media"). Here's the commentary:
Christian News has often suggested that conservative independent Lutheran publications unite. CN frequently says: "It is better to have one publication reaching 100,000 than 10 separate publications each reaching 10,000."
Most of the millions of Lutherans in the U.S. are not being reached with the truth of what is really going on theologically in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Many conservatives spend endless hours speaking to one another on the internet. They are not reaching the vast majority of Lutheans. Some bloggers seem to beleive that if they place something on the internet, they are reaching the world. Jesus First with its Jesus First publication is reaching far more than the conservative Lutheran bloggers. There is much more unity among the liberals than among the conservatives.
Here is a list of bloggers...
I won't deny that some Lutheran bloggers overestimate their influence and reach. But I think most are pretty realistic about it. Heck, most of us have hit counters to tell us exactly who is and how many are reading us!
But who can deny that, as a whole, the Lutheran blogosphere (like every blogosphere) is growing in influence and reach? As more and more people become internet-savvy, and as the collective amount of information in Lutheran blogs grows, this can only continue.
I also think there is far more agreement on the blogs than CN knows.
Are there limitations? Sure. Not every blog is equally helpful, or even speaks truth. Many voices means each one gets less attention. But the targeted nature of blog information is very powerful. If someone wants to know about "Lutheran Resources for Golden Compass", guess what comes up first on a google search? A blog.
Check out the Wittenberg Trail, as another new media... not a blog but inclusive of blogs... a place for reaching out to people investigating Lutheranism. How would CN do that? Another advantage of blogs over a newspaper is they are universally accessible to the Lutheran and Non-Lutheran alike.
And another advantage of new media over old is timeliness. Rarely do I read anything CN reports anymore that I haven't already seen elsewhere on the net, usually in a blog. CN is routinely weeks behind on some of the most interesting Lutheran news stories out there. It's a significant disadvantage of a slower medium, and why most major secular newspapers today also publish online versions - to keep up.
What I think CN is slow to admit, is its own waning in influence and its core audience is graying and dying. I think even Jesus First, with all its funding and ogranizational prowess, is behind the curve of the grassroots blogosphere.