Another note from the Consumer Revolution conference: John Darnton, a forty-year veteran of The New York Times, has his doubts about the much-heralded economic-modeling potential of and similar “watchdog” Web sites: “It’s like finding life on other planets,” he said. “Yes, there may be a few planets that have the special chemical agreements to make them occur”—in VoiceofSanDiego’s case, veteran columnists and funders with deep pockets—but such confluence of circumstances is more a matter of serendipity than sustainability, Darnton says.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.