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So much for "blogs are the future of journalism"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 2muchcoffeeman, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    A wide-ranging study of bloggers, the chattering class of the Internet, concluded that a mere 5 percent of them use news as their primary topic—a figure at odds with perceptions that blogging is remaking journalism.

    The study, released on Wednesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, reported that 37 percent of those surveyed cited their own life and experiences as primary fodder for their blogs. Eleven percent of the respondents said they blog regularly about politics and government; 7 percent about entertainment; 6 percent about sports, and lesser fractions on business, technology and faith.

    ‘‘Blogs are as individual as the people who keep them, but this survey shows that most bloggers are primarily interested in creative, personal expression,’’ Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher for the Internet project, said in a statement. ‘‘Blogs make it easy to document individual experiences, share practical knowledge or just keep in touch with friends and family.’’


    About 34 percent see their blogging as a form of journalism; 65 percent disagreed. Just over a third of the bloggers said they often conduct journalistically appropriate tasks such as verifying facts and linking to source material. More than 40 percent of bloggers said they never quote sources or other media directly, and 11 percent said they post corrections.


    Future of journalism, my ass.
  2. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Myspace is the new future of journalism. And by "journalism," I mean "paedomania". I will say that Wikipedia has likely driven the final nail in the coffin of the door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, whose final gasp of relevance came when Penn sold Joey the volume V in that one episode.
  3. The conclusion in the lead is logically flawed.

    "...a mere 5 percent of them use news as their primary topic—a figure at odds with perceptions that blogging is remaking journalism."

    The percentage of blogs that are news blogs is not the issue in question here. The question is how influential, how popular that small subset is. The IExpress lead might as well have said, "A wide-ranging study of the Lebanese population showed that only .001 per cent belong to Hezbollah militias -- a figure at odds with perceptions that Hezbollah is central to the current crisis in the Middle East."

    It's not the number, it's the power the number has.
  4. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Then a lot of editors must be paranoid of a very tiny segment because you see a lot of columns trying to denigrate bloggers as "pajama wearers" or something equally non sequitur.

    Of course, these columns are usually written by cowering managing editors who can't deal with the problems in front of their noses, but they do want to project some sort of B.S. image of authority.
  5. I agree 100%. And the "pajama-wearers" thing is always ridiculous, as is the "bloggers can just make up facts!" thing. The vast majority of popular non-personal (as in, non-"I am so sad today because my man dumped me") blogs - be they news-, sports-, or entertainment-related - specialize in opinion, not covering stuff. And the ones who are doing real reporting, like Michael Yon or Michael Totten, are at least as credible and probably more credible than most newspaper-employed people.

    Newspaper folks should climb out of denial and acknowledge what they're actually dealing with.
  6. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Oh, hell, if they're really that good, they'll be co-opted by an established news organization who can pay them a living wage. If nothing else, these blogs are a good resume builder. And most that deal with news are still link-and-opine operations.
  7. You're absolutely right on the last thing - most are still link-and-opine shops, absolutely depenendent on the "MSM" they so detest.

    I don't know about the first part, though. Kevin Sites, the fearless independent mostly-broadcast guy, was co-opted by Yahoo for its "Hot Zone" thing, which has worked really well. I just can't see some of these brilliant online writers being co-opted by newspapers. Totten's "traditional" stuff, for example, is pretty poor -- bad columns, not-great short features. But he excels in the long-form, spare-no-quote-from-average-Mohammed-in-Kirkuk style the Internet allows. He's not unlike Bill Simmons in that way.
  8. PS: Newspaper people make a living wage? :)
  9. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member


  10. Guys, what's your position here? Not rhetorically - I'm curious. Do you deny that the rise of blogs is a significant development in the world of journalism? Do you think it is significant, just not a "revolution"? Or, like that Indiana paper, do you just not think blogs have risen?
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    sir - the south, not blogs have 'risen.'
  12. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    When Technorati still listed the number of blogs you could search, it listed about 6 million or so (I'm doing this from memory). So if only 5 percent are doing firsthand journalism, that's still 300,000 blogs. So a lot of people are getting out of their pajamas.

    And why would any argue blogs haven't been co-opted? MSNBC gives space to Instapundit and Blog Maverick, as well as hosting other blogs. Just about every major daily newspaper has launched its own blogging efforts. Sports dork sites like Baseball Prospectus and Football Outsiders now have space in Sports Illustrated and Foxsports.com. And there are plenty of bloggers now supporting themselves through ads and readers contributions. Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo (a news site, albiet one most conservatives would consider a biased one) has gone from his own musings to investigative reporting to having a staff of reporters and contributors.

    Also, I'm not sure who throws out "blogs will overtake journalism" anymore. I would think even the most ambitious bloggers realize that blogging isn't going to kill journalism as we've known it. However, what blogging has done is create a format for near-instant, short-form journalism, with back-and-forth conversation available (in some cases) with readers, that satisfy's a need for quick information and opinion, as well as giving readers a chance to participate, rather than just read. As an example, I wonder these days what gets more response or what is more popular -- the Oregonian's daily stories about the Blazers, or its Blazers blog.

    Blogs aren't going to overtake journalism. But I think they've given it a little shot in the arm.
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