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April 26, 2005

What do you want this blog to be?

Stephen Baker

We're getting lots of feedback on this blog, and lots of questions. The key one, naturally, is what this blog is going to be about. We need your feedback to help us shape it.

Some people call for a blog that focuses sharply on business: How blogs are affecting business, and how companies can and should respond. They say they have only a certain number of blogs they have time and energy to look at blog posts. They want focus.

There's no doubt that we should provide a steady supply of that information. It's the core of our franchise.

The question is whether we should also cover the industry we know the very best, and the one in which we benefit from an inside view: media. Seems to me that one of the key dramas to play out over the next several years will involve the jockeying between mass media and media of the masses. If we can provide an inside Mainstream Media perspective, could that be valuable? Or just navel-gazing?

If we cover business as well as media, we could tag the postings so that those who want only one or the other would know which ones to click (or subscribe to). If you have other ideas on how to organize and tag this blog, send them along.

In any case, let's hear your thoughts. What do you want this blog to cover?

10:51 AM

referendum

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Tracked on April 26, 2005 05:46 PM

In my limited experience, I've found that successful blogs have a personality and a point of view. And they go with the flow of news and activity on other blogs.

If I were running BW, I'd use the blog to continue coverage of and discussions about stories in the mag. You could start with the cover stories. Post questions about the cover story and see what people have to say. Post additional info that reporters gather but won't fit in the issue. Post unanswered questions, or new questions that came up while researching the story. Post links to key sources cited in a story. Let readers add to facts and opinions that appear in the story. Make BW interactive. Let readers create your content. Followup each week with a summary of additional info that appears in the blog on the previous week's cover story. You also could do this with a message board, of course.

Just one of many thoughts. (And I wouldn't limit the blog to this activity.)

Posted by: Donald E. L. Johnson at April 26, 2005 11:56 AM

How about this blog follow the tagline: "Where the worlds of business, media and blogs collide". That sounds pretty good to me.

Though I do think it should be more on the general business side and not focus much on the businesses that are built around blogging. There are plenty of other blogosphere resources in that arena.

Posted by: Jackson Miller at April 26, 2005 11:56 AM

Well, I know what I don't want this blog to be. I don't want to see another business blog that does nothing more than reinforce the good ol' boy system that's prevalent in the blogosphere. Research shows that women write 56% of the blogs in the blogosphere, yet male bloggers are the ones getting all the glory -- unless you're one of a few female bloggers they care to give the time of day. A quick Google check for the subject "Where are the Women Bloggers" will give you an idea of the gender battle going on in the blogosphere.

At any rate, I want to see fair and equal treatment. I certainly hope the folks here at BusinessWeek can do that.

Sincerely,

Genia V. Stevens, MBA

Posted by: Genia at April 26, 2005 11:59 AM

The mass media and media of the masses thing is being covered so thoroughly and so well by bloggers and media journalists that it would really be redundant to include that.

Although a number of blogs cover some aspects of the business of blogging and blogging's impact on business, there still isn't a really great blog for that. If I had time to do another blog that's what I'd be doing. Even the famous guys like Steve Rubel only focus on specific aspects.

Posted by: Clyde Smith at April 26, 2005 01:54 PM

To follow up on my comment, obviously the response to blogging by media businesses and the emergence of stand along journalists and the like as freelancers and small businesses would come under the business of blogging umbrella.

I guess that's a pretty big umbrella!

Posted by: Clyde Smith at April 26, 2005 01:57 PM

What should your blog be?

Exactly what your cover story was about: how blogs are radically altering communications between businesses & their "publics." Namely: customers, employees, stockholders, suppliers, community neighbors, and governments.

Posted by: Roger Groce at April 26, 2005 01:59 PM

I think you should do what the title says - spot blogs and trends in blogging. Along these lines - I have a scoop for you. The first Broadway musical to start a blog and have the cast join in is Little Women the Musical. I think it exciting to bring this new expressive medium into new areas. http://littlewomen.typepad.com

Posted by: Kaliya at April 26, 2005 03:46 PM

I loved your story and believe it is a wave that business and the like should be riding. I would like the blog to be about blogging - pro's; con's' how to; not to blog....

Posted by: ken gosnell at April 26, 2005 04:12 PM

Since the Cluetrain Manifesto book predicted the large scale use of blogs, it's about time that the editorial arena address this event and monitor its evolution.

Being an old ad agency creative on the west coast, I found the dot com era a very mixed bag for ad agencies. They were confussed about the paper world versus the paperless world and more importantly, how they were going to charge for something that they really didn't understand completely. Sure CKS Partners picked up the pace and presented the new multimedia revolution as a way to get clients more focussed on the world of the internet. In the end, at least while I was there, presentations still came down to the old way of presenting and selling ideas. Only the twist was different.

So the question is as I see it, is this blog tool a marketing endeavor or is it an area that comes under the creative domain?

Or is it a mixed venue of both that gives us some sort of vision regarding the advertising business of the future and a media tool for the honest?

Re-tooling or re-inventing perceptions and actuals of doing business is always a good thing. Understanding them is a whole

new ball game and that is what I would like to see this site do. Showing how the blog environment is evolving and what it makes for in relationship to the world of advertising, art, media and truth.

Thanks,

Mike Parsons

Posted by: Mike Parsons at April 26, 2005 04:37 PM

Excellent article and a wonderful attempt to 'do unto yourself before your competition does it to you'. In this case, the competition being the bloggers themselves.

I think that the blog should not only cover discussions on your stories (i.e., merely a letters to the editor on steroids in real time), but also, coverage across the board, including your competition - both print media and online, both established and bloggers.

Posted by: Sunil Chhaya at April 26, 2005 05:03 PM

A couple of suggestions:

1. Timely summary of the news, preferably with an excerpt, and with a link.

2. Short, pithy, concise entries. Blogs need to be a quick, but valuable, read.

3. Something about the current font and lay-out seems to distract from a quick read, but that may just be me.

4. Look and compare some of the popular blogs. They summarize the current news, and then provide an opinion on its effect. If I agree, or disagree, or have a slightly different take, I may join the fray.

By the way, don’t pass up an entry like this one: Arianna Huffington’s new Blog to be picked up by newspapers. “[Tribune Media Services] aims to create a new syndication model by offering newspapers and their Web sites daily material from the new 24-hour news and blogging site. The Huffington Post will feature dispatches from some of the biggest names in Hollywood, corporate America, politics and the media.” http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050426/cgtu054.html?.v=7 Talk about convergence, blogs coming full-circle.

JC

Posted by: JC at April 26, 2005 05:06 PM

Another entry not to miss: University of Michigan Prof. Juan Cole clarifies the distinctions between the blogs and mainstream media: “The difference, Matt, is that we are independent actors, not part of a small set of multi-billion dollar corporations. The difference is that we are not under the constraints of making a 15% profit.” http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0426-20.htm

It also addresses the constraints on MSM placed by a corporate structure and advertiser pressures. The blogs are free of such pressures.

JC

Posted by: JC at April 26, 2005 05:41 PM

Good article, fairly well balanced, not enough detail or expose for me, but not bad nevertheless.

I agree with your first commenter, a Blog definitely needs a personality. Though I think that will develop once you have your theme. If it doesn't develop, you haven't got one!

I'd like to see some expose's, in particular about use, misuse and abuse of Blogs and Bloggers by business. Examples:

- company pays blogger to blog about them

- company sues blogger for blogging about them

- company fires employee for blogging about them

- company hires blogger for his/her blogging

- company's behaviour changes as a result of blogging (power of the people)

- companies exploiting bloggers or the phenomena in general

etc... you get the idea

Posted by: Onkroes at April 26, 2005 06:45 PM

I have a suggestion for a theme. Cars. The business of cars: manufacturing them, buying them, a forum of likes and dislikes. Everybody likes cars. It would be nice to have a respected bulletin board to the manufacturers and dealers and each other to say what we like and what we don't like.

BusinessWeek is weak in automotive business reporting. I don't know from blogs, this is the first blog I've ever read. But I would read and comment in a blog that combined business with cars.

I like to drive them, invest in them and invest in the business, so that would be a great combination it seems to me.

Posted by: stephen at April 27, 2005 01:42 AM

Solicit instant feedback on published articles. This would be like letters to the editor on a real time basis. I believe this would ultimatly lead to more accurate reporting.

Much of the MSM do not REPORT the news; they try to CREATE the news!

Posted by: Keith at April 27, 2005 02:21 AM

Use your blog as a feedback medium for articles yet to be published in BW. That will help the readers relate better to the final piece, and you would be embracing the open process of story production that you described in your article.

Keep the comments section open (only editing out profanities). Your readers would like to know unedited views of other readers.

Posted by: Kumara Raghavan at April 27, 2005 02:23 AM

Blogs are a great way to get feedback and really track the pulse of the market. Its the best of both worlds providing local and global knowledge and insight. Comparing blogs to regular news medis is like comparing Lonely Planet to CNN news. One takes you to the grassroots while the other does a glossy overview.

Posted by: Shalini Bahadur at April 27, 2005 02:30 AM

Not only can corporations use blogs to supplement their advertising or PR, but blogs can also be the centerpiece of a business. Blogspotting should not only, then, focus on how blogs enrich PR campaigns but can be "sold" -- much like the Huffington Report or Wonkette -- as pieces of a "new media" empire.

Posted by: Scott Hurff at April 27, 2005 09:01 AM

There are so many blogs about blogs.

As a pr professional, and if BusinessWeek is really going to 'do unto the competition, before the competition does unto you' the magazine needs to use its blog as a nother news source.

We can get info on blogging from a variety of sources. What we can't get is BusinessWeek reporter writing without filters about the news as it happens during the course of a day.

A blog on the auto industry, a blog on semiconductors- these are topics your reporters cover and they have lots more to say than what is in the magazine.

Blogs will give them the freedom to say it.

Posted by: David Friedman at April 27, 2005 11:15 AM

You pose (at least) two questions. One is about scope the scope of your blog. The other is about organization. Here are my thoughts.

1. Yes you should cover media "as well as" business. Media is a business. Of all businesses, media may well be the one most affected by blogging. It's also a business you know well, because you work in it.

2. I'd recommend coarse-grained categories, with a feed for each category, as well as for the whole blog. Suggestions for categories: business; media; people; tools.

Posted by: Andrew at April 27, 2005 11:34 AM

Remembering something that Al Franken used to say on Saturday Night Live - I have an additional suggestion on a topic this blog could focus on: Me. Stephen Clifford.

Unlike most other blogs, your blog wouldn't be me writing about me, it would be BusinessWeek professionals writing about me and my stock and bond gains and losses and my years as a Laundromat operator. Lots of dirty laundry there.

BusinessWeek could peer into the business of all the cars I've bought over the years for my wayward son that were given away or wrecked.

I could give BusinessWeek reporters a scary ride in my Chrysler 300C, like Lyndon Johnson used to do at his ranch for curious reporters. They knew Lyndon Johnson. I'm no Lyndon Johnson, but I could scare them plenty.

Posted by: stephen clifford at April 27, 2005 12:10 PM

Hi Heather-

If one accepts that blogs evolve printed communication, then the mission starts where printed communication sits right now. Give us timely reporting on events of the day. Blogs, and the use of blogs, are happening right now, and so they'll get covered as they deserve. This blog as tutorial resource? please, no. Print-on-paper-page has limitations a blog doesn't. Find those advantages and exploit them. The way you capture these gets to the personality and perspective that folks seem to want. You guys are the journalists,

but maybe a suggestion can jog something: try starting by rethinking the reporting fundamentals, pick out a story, try something new, and see how it goes. Don't do it if you don't think first. Thoughtful writing is what I expect out of BW.

cheers

Pete Z.

ps. some of your ideas will bomb. Don't sweat it. I bet folks will respect you for trying.

Z.

Posted by: Pete Zievers at April 27, 2005 12:11 PM

The question really comes down to what coverage belongs in the print magazine versus traditional web pages versus blog format.

If a blogging-related story is compelling enough, it should be given some real "ink".

If an item is of interest but doesn't make the "cut", placement on a traditional web page makes sense.

So what belongs on blogs?

1) Items that pop up between print deadlines.

2) Items too small to warrant a full "story".

3) Behind-the-scenes insights into the process of building a story.

4) Research tidbits.

5) Reader feedback and dialog on all stories

Just because an item is about blogging shouldn't mean that it automatically gets relegated to one of these blogs.

I would hope that BW has a semi-regular blogging-related "feature" story, at least on a traditional web page. Like all stories, that story should have an attached blog.

I would hope that BW will regularly interview the big-wig movers and shakers as to how blogging is affecting their operations, where "the rubber meets the road". Some of that "research" should going into the regular blogging "feature", but there is likely to be enough of it to post here on a frequent basis so us readers can watch and respond to this research in near-real-time.

-- Jack Krupansky

Posted by: Jack Krupansky at April 27, 2005 12:51 PM

Would like to jump in on what to cover at this site. First, writing and commenting on blogs themselves should be a must, especially given your story. It is a new business tool and who better to report on it than, Business Week. (In fact, in my business course at Rutgers this summer and fall, I will be assigning projects on blogs. Not sure yet what they will be, but I think discussing blogs in class is important.)

Then, other subjects seem obvious, at least to me: The economy, specific businesses, business leaders, international especially China and India, and general commentary about business.

Posted by: Paul Westbrook at April 27, 2005 03:05 PM

If the rest of the world of Blogs is anything to go by, the real test of BW efforts will be enabling visitors to find and then be updated about the information that's relevant to them... without adding to the deluge of irrelevant data

Posted by: Ian Black at April 28, 2005 02:55 AM

Cover the waterfront as it relates to buisness. i like what you are doing. I put your link on my blog. Now all I need is to get my podcast up and running

Posted by: bert at April 28, 2005 11:11 AM

It's only natural that BW subscribers/readers would want your blog column to focus on corporate blogging and case studies of such. However, given the pervasive influence the Federal govt has on business,it would seem that you have to expand your coverage to politics. Even tho Mr Bush is trying to reduce that influence to zero. Luckily he will be around for only 3 more years and as his lame duck status grows he will become less influential, altho, sadly, the harm he hath already wrought will continue in his wake.

Posted by: thayer c taylor at April 29, 2005 04:30 AM

I have an even simpler request: When I hit this page, I counted to ten before the hourglass went away. When I hit "Insight", twenty. I don't have a slow machine. What I would NOT like this (or any other blog) to be is a page I have to wait that long for the animated ads to settle before I can scroll down the page. I've seen casino ads with less activity.

Posted by: MDS at April 29, 2005 11:33 PM


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