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Times story on blogging misses productivity angle


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January 02, 2006

Times story on blogging misses productivity angle

Stephen Baker

Katharine Seelye writes in today's Times of the power of bloggers to respond to journalists, and the pressure for journalists to reveal more of their reporting. I think the story misses a key economic point.

We often do lots and lots of reporting for a single magazine story. Many of the people interviewed generously give their time and insights, and never see their name, company or words in the article. I would estimate that for a cover story, maybe one-sixth of the people we interview are represented in the article. If that. We justify this process, saying that these interviews inform our thinking. Readers get a synthesis of the reporting, but not all the details.

In any case, we gather far more than we use. At the same time, we're wrestling with worrisome trends in advertising; most of us are losing reporters. And we're looking to create new "platforms" for our brands, especially online.

So, if we need to create more and varied content with a smaller staff, it makes sense to squeeze more production out of our reporting. This means turning forgotten interviews into online Q&As, publishing notes on blogs, creating online stories on themes that didn't make it into the main piece.

It would be too costly to use our tried and true multi-tiered editorial process for this production. So some of it goes through a quicker process online. And yes, the most sensible approach for some of it is simply to blog it. Blogging is cheap, fast and efficient--precisely the qualities journalism is looking for. These are the economic factors, perhaps more than anything else, that continue to drive mainstream journalism toward blogging.

09:45 AM

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? Contextually Contentious from The Flack

In a piece today that has all sorts of ramifications for PR practitioners, New York Times newspaper beat reporter Katharine Seelye (finally) reports on how unedited source material can be used in this day and age to give an interviewee a leg up on th... [Read More]

Tracked on January 2, 2006 06:17 PM

Great idea. One area where I've enjoyed this approach is with radio interviews where the station would put an unabridged, or at least extended, intereview on their web site. If a listener happens to really connect with a story, make it easy for them to consume all that you've created on the topic.

Posted by: Ed Kohler at January 2, 2006 04:16 PM

I've definitely seen many industry/trade magazines run a story, but then refer to readers to their site for a "Web exclusive," or some other terminology. What's on the mag's site is often a more in-depth story, and/or other information that didn't fit in the printed editorial space. This has been going on for at least a couple or few years.

I've not seen too many print consumer media outlets do this.

Mike

Posted by: Mike Driehorst at January 3, 2006 01:29 PM


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