March 15, 2006
Liz published this at 9:07 pm
Okay, just for fun, let’s review.
I’m the nice one. I blog about business, writing, and thinking outside of the box.
According to Tom Glocer, Trevor Butterworth, and Roger Parry, today in the Financial Times, I’m also a citizen journalist. I didn’t know that. Should I put that on my resume?
If folks from the old Media such as Tom Glocer, Trevor Butterworth, and Roger Parry can talk about me and other bloggers. I see no reason that I can’t talk about the three of them and their little talk today.
There were 15 questions asked by 12 people. The floor for questions was open for a week–since Mr. Glocer’s speech to the Online Publisher’s Association in London ran as Old media must embrace the amateur on March 7. You’d think they might have found 15 questions by 15 different people that were worth answering . . .
The last question and the one that seemed most relevant to us was
The blogging revolution is in its infancy as the web was in the late 1990s. Bloggers will become more sophisticated and organised over time. The blogging community will itself split Ã¢â‚¬â€œ between professional and amateur bloggers. Many professional bloggers will be experts in their own fields that do not have the desire/time to write for mainstream media. Add all these professional bloggers together (through technology or partnerships) and you potentially have the real challenge to old media in a few years. How can old media coerce or partner with a much more advanced and professional blogging community? Fighting hundreds of thousands of real niche experts will be a much different challenge. How can Reuters face this challenge?
Philip L Letts
Mr. Glocer’s answer showed a growing understanding, though he’s still breathing the air in the old media tower . . .
. . . I think media companies like ours need to experiment with both amateur and professional blogs. Reuters has been encouraging our own professional journalists to blog events, like the Consumer Electronics show Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so you should not expect all the Ã¢â‚¬Å“expertsÃ¢â‚¬? to come from the outside. To attract outside professionals you need to offer a platform, an audience and a brand that is appealing. The war will not be won by coercion but by mutual consent.
Mr. Butterworth, who makes no bones about his dislike of blogs, showed both his arrogance and his belief in the use of big vocabulary . . .
. . . there is a much more fundamental question: how many readers do you alienate as a news organisation by indulging in blogging? I think you (and mainstream media blog evangelists) overestimate, at the very least, American appetites for bloviation. Branded opinions yes; what DaveSpart68 in Ohio thinks about George W. Bush, no.
Presently, the reality of the blogathons at some newspapers in the U.S. seems to be less expert disquisition and more inquisitorial musing on American Idol or Lindsey Lohan. Fine, clearly there is a market for this kind of pop cultural chatter Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but how much is it enhancing the newspaper as a business? Not as much as devoting more resources to producing original, insightful and well-written content, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d warrant.
Second, the idea that there are hundreds of thousands of Ã¢â‚¬Å“niche expertsÃ¢â‚¬? blogging away (or ready and willing to blog) lacks empirical evidence. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very impressed with scienceblogs.com Ã¢â‚¬â€œ read the surgeon/scientist Ã¢â‚¬Å“respectful insolenceÃ¢â‚¬? and you get a real sense of how the mainstream need to upgrade their medical reporting. . . .
Mr. Parry, won my favor by calling things as he sees them with the fewest words and seemingly the most experience of reality . . .
. . . The degree to which a blog is interesting to people other than its author will depend on the subject matter, the authority, the level of Ã¢â‚¬Å“newÃ¢â‚¬? information and the style of the writing. In short the most popular blogs will share the same characteristics as the most popular newspapers, magazines and broadcast programmes.
In some ways the blog is the digital version of the letter to the editor or the self produced leaflet but with the added dimensions or interactivity, real-time distribution and global access. The blogger who produces something of very narrow subject interest can still draw a sizable audience as they have the whole world as potential readers.
Existing media will have to embrace blogs as an enhancement to their content offer in the same way they commission articles from experts, run reader polls and invite letters.
Bloggers who do their job well will, like star columnists, attract a loyal following and will be paid (if they want to be ) to let their blog be aggregated into an existing media offering. . . .
I do have one question that didn’t get answered. If Tom Glocer, Trevor Butterworth, and Roger Parry got fired tomorrow, would they then be citizen journalists like me?
I wonder . . .
–ME “Liz” Strauss