Bill Roggio has started a new news service called PMI (Public Multimedia Inc.). Starting from writing about the war for family and friends a few years ago, Bill has become a major figure in the Blogosphere because of his outstanding reporting on the Iraq war. He has a military background and the special ability to explain the strategic and operational goals of what the military is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan for his readers. We all keep going back to The Fourth Rail because it provides superior war reporting. As important as the quality of his work is, it is not the only reason for Bill being in a position to start his own media company. The reason he has become so important, so fast, is because he is operating in a new media environment this is not understood by the established media institutions. Bill Roggio is invisible to the MSM mostly because they have no theoretical understanding to warn them that changes in the media environment can blindside them and their businesses. Furthermore, they lack any up to date understanding of how a networked media like the Internet upsets the rules by which mass media is accustomed to controlling and framing the way news is reported and consumed.

Because most of the editors and reporters of the MSM are the products of our Universities or Journalism schools they most likely have an understanding of media theory based on French Postmodernism. Such theory has its place but does little to explain the rise of Blogosphere and why established institutions like the MSM are finding themselves challenged by upstarts like Bill and startups like PMI and Pajamas Media. However, there are thinkers, specifically North American thinkers, who provide an alternate theoretical basis for understanding what is happening in media today. Camile Paglia made a plea for such a new media theory based on the work of Marshal McLuhan and others in 2000 in her The North American Intellectual Tradition. I have put together the beginnings of this theory – a kernel if you will – and written about it at my new blog The goal of is to encourage others to join in and help build a more complete theory – specifically using the model of the Open Software movement as exemplified by Linux founder Linus Torvalds and explained by Eric S Raymond in his book The Cathedral and the Bizarre (free online). I want it to be an operational theory that can underpin diverse practical endeavors from corporate blogging to improving our performance in the information war. I gave it a test flight here on the topic of corprate blogging. I think it shows some promise. This article is an introduction to McLuhan’s well know dictum ‘The Media is the message. An explanation of why Bill Roggio and others have competed successfully with the mass media is here.

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