It's good to see that the mainstream press is expanding from the online-music-discovery theme into other artforms. On the other hand, I increasingly have a feeling of "how unsurprising" about the basic storyline that artists, musicians, photographers and so on are using the potential of the net to further their aims. It's like those stories about terrorists and pornographers using the net. In that case the subtext was, "how scary: shouldn't someone be stopping these people from communicating online somehow". In this case it seems to be, "how nice: a handful of creatives can make names for themselves without first being anointed by the mainstream media (now let us anoint them)."
The really surprising thing would be if criminals (and police), artists (and critics, impresarios, audiences) were not using the net for all they are worth.
(As an aside, I wonder who are the hold-outs who are not using the internet as much as they might? There must be some. I hazard a guess: small and medium-sized manufacturing companies.)
So for me the real story is not that a few of Flickr's millions of photographers have risen to the top of the pile and benefited from doing so. That was bound to happen. The story is how they did it, whether their techniques can be adopted by others, and how much trust we can put in the process that elevated these few and not others. By what criteria can we judge whether the best photographers have risen to the top?
Of course, those are some of the points I want to explore in my book.
What I take from the press coverage like The Observer's and this story in The Times is the rather predictable and depressing point that a significant part of getting attention seems to be the eye candy effect. New media, same old desires.