Many are mourning the loss of the fourth estate and watchdog journalism during this media consolidation. However, funeral preparations are premature.

Just as citizen journalists are breaking news, writing and sharing content online, individuals are also becoming watchdogs and spreading concerns and transgressions faster than traditional media can report about them.

From the Kryptonite lock example in 2004 during the infancy of the social Web, individuals having been taking companies to task and exposing issues in the social media environment.

In the past week alone, Amazon’s change in classifying gay materials snowballed from a Twitter meme called #AmazonFail into a quick apology from the company, and a video by two employees at a Domino’s Pizza franchise, tracked down by Consumerist readers, has resulted in their immediate firing as well as pending criminal charges after first spreading online and then going mainstream.

Paid Content’s Tameka Kee breaks it down for business: It’s a testament to how social media can force major corporations to act much faster than they might otherwise in an effort to do damage control.

With sites such as The Drudge Report and The Consumerist, green blogs that test and track chemicals in a variety of products and political blogs that monitor politician’s comings and goings, investigative journalism is alive and well online.

— Tonja Deegan

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