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July 30, 2005

Should mainstream journalists blog?

Stephen Baker

Just getting around now to reading this provocative post saying that mainstream journalists "don't get to blog." Lower in the post, to be fair, Bob Cauthorn shows examples of how mainstreamers can get it right. Jeff Jarvis reponds, and says some nice words about this blog.

A few points: 1)We may succeed, we may fail. But many of us don't want to be shut out of the most fascinating trends in communications just because we have jobs in the industry.

2)The most important part of blogging for us is what we learn. And hopefully we can apply some of that--the interactivity, the magic of links--into our mainstream product. As an industry, we have to innovate. For this we need to experiment, try new things. Bob's right on one count. If publications look at blogging as a way to attract young Web surfers, they're probably on the wrong track. The key to blogging, I repeat, is to learn.

3)There's a concern that blogs hurt the mainstream brand or divert resources from important journalistic work. The question of the brand is up to our bosses. But I would argue that some of the most important journalistic work we can do is to figure out new ways to gather information, interact with the public and tell stories. And blogging is good for that.

10:02 AM

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? Who Gets to Blog? from Mark EvansThe Corante's Bob Cauthorn has a lengthy has a lengthy [Read More]

Tracked on July 31, 2005 09:12 AM

There's a lot of negative examples in Taiwan though.

Posted by: Portnoy at July 30, 2005 01:04 PM

Should mainstream journalists blog. BUT OF COURSE. The only thing is that there audiences must understand that there is a difference between a FACT based journalist (gone through editing and etc) writing an article about the supreme court and a journalist who has HIS or HER OWN blog and writing about the supreme court.

Ramon, Smallbiztechnology.com

Posted by: Ramon Ray at July 30, 2005 01:37 PM

"The question of the brand is up to our bosses"

Wrong. You are the brand. The people of the organization are the brand. Without you there is no brand.

Leave it to an experienced journalist to come with an excellent and controversial headline that really grabs your attention. By the time you finish reading the post, you realize he's not at all saying people don't get to blog. It is, however, an excellent polemic on authenticity and motivation. He's right. It's not about "snaps". For many, it isn't even about "keeping it real" because they were never real to begin with.

Posted by: Michael Martine at July 30, 2005 02:08 PM

As a business venture blogging is a loser. I can't see how it can hurt a brand. If I was writing a regular ink piece, I doubt I would do any kind of blogging. I guess it is up to the journalist. I killed my blog for the simple reason I don't really need it and it's just another thing to update. If you love writing so much that you just can't do it too much, blogging is great. It looks like there are far more blog writers than readers. I think blogging would go down if unemployment went down. If the choice is between making $1,200 a week or blogging, what can you do? Blogging isn't doing much other than driving word click ad revenues because people will put ads on a blog. Most blog content is trash, so if you have a good writing gig keep it and let the marketing people do their thing. I don't think we'll see quality writers quitting good paying positions to become bloggers. Blogging gives the boss another assignment to hand down, because blogging is cool. Try to find the profit in blogging and you'll come up empty.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at July 30, 2005 06:19 PM

The answer to your headline question should be "Yes", *if* the journalist wishes to engage in a "conversation", but "No" if they don't.

Blogs *should* be a blend of distribution channel and mini-discussion forum, not primarily a publication medium and not primarily a wide-open (and meandering) discussion forum.

A good blog focuses attention on a point and enables an open conversation focused on that point. If that's what a journalist wishes to do, they should be welcomed and encouraged.

Being an over-the-hill 50-isher myself, my only advice on attracting youthful readers is simply to hire youthful editorial staff. Hmmm... maybe BW needs some younger bloggers.

-- Jack Krupansky

Posted by: Jack Krupansky at July 30, 2005 09:30 PM

Stephen, keep doing what you are doing, you are an inspiration and great influence for professional and aspiring journalists. Ramon, a blog can be "fact based" whether its written by a mainstream journalist or an independent writer who just happens to publish on a blog. And Jim, you may be right, but some people rang the same economic death knell for the web in the early '90s, so for now let's keep the generalizations and blogger stereotypes to a minimum.

Posted by: Gary Goldhammer at July 31, 2005 07:19 PM

I'm not ringing an economic death knell. I believe that the division of labor has served well. A publisher, editor and writer all do different tasks.

Maybe publishers will start printing blogs in ink publications, which could be the next phase leading toward mainstream blogging. They print letters to the editor, so printing a blog or blog entries isn't too much of a stretch. Here's a letters to the editor blog http://blog.news-record.com/staff/letters/

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at August 1, 2005 11:19 AM

Doesn't it seem that different media serve different purposes? Blogs are really great for reporting on singular events. It happened, it's described in 100 or so words, it's blogged, it's out there for the discovery of curious people. Not everything can be meaningfully captured in 100 words or so. Context needs developing so things are in proper perspective. That takes time, and often a more traditional approach. Different events, different tools.

Professional or amateur? does that matter here?

A while back, Stephen raised the issue of blogging his interview notes. I think that'd be a great application of a blog. Each stream-of-consciousness response is like it's own event. If a cluster of questions/answers developed a story, depending on the complexity, there might be source checking and related issues involved. Merely blogging such questions/answers sells the reader short and might even indicate that the writer is copping out.

Pete Z.

Posted by: Pete Zievers at August 1, 2005 03:35 PM

This Blog is really good to exachange our views and thoughts.Everyone should come forward and express their views on this.

Charles Mercer

http://www.businessprintingcheap.com

Posted by: Charles Mercer at May 4, 2006 02:22 PM


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