Who do you define as authority today?

I’ve just read a somewhat intriguing idea off the Long Tail book. It says:

Bloggers can specialise on a particular topic to an extent that few journalists employed by media companies can, since the more that journalists specialised, the more of them the company would have to hire in order to cover all bases.

… and I see how true this can be, when the power of instant publishing is given to the hands of the common people. Why would a journalist know more and publish more about engineering than an engineer, more about music production than the music producer himself, and more about teaching parrots to talk than the community of people who actually own parrots and do that hands on everyday?

I appreciate the Long Tail being in effect – now that I pay more attention to blogs. The blogs that I read serve me more detailed information about my topic of interest than the daily newspaper or nine o’clock news. Besides, blog information “gets aired” so must faster than the news, unless its a live telecast (which they don’t have on TV everyday).

That said, have your perception of “Authority” changed? Do you tend to trust what you read online (from a few sources) more than what you read from the papers?

Let’s give an example. Let’s say Company X launches its latest tech gadget, and in the papers you read a review of the product, saying that it is excellent, but yet at the same time, you do a search online and what you get are mainly blogs complaining of how this product didn’t work out for them. Which would you trust more?

We used to expect the papers right at our doorstep when we wake up so we can read the news right in the morning, but how many people are doing that now? How has the evolution of information dissemination online changed the way you do things today?