Wrap your head around this one: this blog post is about a blog post about blogs. (It’s also about newspapers and journalism, though, so rest easy.)
Writing for one of my favorite blogs, Mashable, Stan Schroeder takes on the common theme among “real” journalists that blogs muddy the water of news reporting. Schroeder correctly points out that old models of news reporting simply can’t assemble all the information out there:
I’ll tell you what’s also news. When someone notices that Digg’s algorithm has changed and that tiny blogs will have a harder time getting on the front page. When someone finds a vulnerability in the iPhone’s latest firmware. When someone digs through Google Trends data and finds that no one is searching for “sex” anymore (yeah, that’s likely to happen).
I’ll also tell you who writes about these things: blogs. This is why blogs are popular, not because they’re rehashing news from big media publications, writing their opinions without contributing with facts. They’re popular because somewhere there’s a guy who took great interest in figuring out which airplane seats are the best to be seated in and he started a blog writing about it, and you cannot find this information in any major newspaper.
This is astute analysis. I would add that blogs allow news segmentation – in other words, you can get information in the hands of the people to whom it is most relevant much easier.
After a softball game a few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a pair of fellow UMass journalism alums about Politico, which had just recently become profitable. The shortstop, who works for an education newspaper, made the comment that media outlets like his and Politico were the future of media. “News should be organized around a topic, not a geographic region,” he wisely said.
I discussed that theme from a different angle last week when talking to a group at the Leadership Institute’s Public Relations School about writing press releases. The old ways of doing PR have changed; press releases have to be blog friendly – which may include having supporting information, like pictures and video, more available. From an organizational perspective, this is good for two reasons. First, it means more avenues for getting news out there. Second – and more importantly – it means your target audience is easier to reach than ever.
For instance, if I’m releasing a new social networking platform, I’ll attract more attention – at least, more of the right attention – if it’s covered on a blog like Mashable than if it’s on the front page of the New York Times. The developing media landscape helps channel the flow of information.
And if you still feel like you need “professional” journalism… well, watch The Today Show every morning for a week, and tell me if you’re still as confident in “professional news.”