Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mass media vs. the blogger on every corner

The mass media like to think they're a superior form of life to blogs. But the gap is closing.

Make no mistake, I'm a mass media guy. One column of mine in PROFIT or MoneySense reaches more people than will read this blog in a year. And yet - blogs bring many things to the table that the mainstream media lack.

Personality, for one thing. With bloggers you get not just the facts, but interpretation - which is very often bad, but sometimes very good.

Feet on the street, for another. There are more bloggers with eyewitness reports on major events than there will ever be professional news-gatherers.

Moreover, as the media try to expand their coverage and become more useful in an everyday sense to their readers (especially on the Web), they run into the army of bloggers who have been there first.

Case in point: on May 19 I pointed readers to a new feature on the CFIB website for entrepreneurs tryng to cope with the paperwork for the upcoming GST reduction. Six days later, The Globe & Mail "Report on Small Business" webfolks pointed their readers to the same resource.

Did I "scoop" The Globe? Of course not. But I proved, as bloggers are now doing every day, that whenever the media swerve from their highest calling of reporting original news, they are likely to be beaten to the punch.

Yes, The Globe will (presumably) reach more people than will any individual blog, so what they do is still worth doing. But it is no longer journalism as we knew it.

The mass media are now part of the information factory and not above it.

Corollary: Your company needs a strategy for tracking blogs and perhaps publishing one or more. Blogs are starting to matter.

1 comment:

Ann Handley said...

I totally agree, Rick. When you say, "...blogs bring many things to the table that the mainstream media lack."

..I'd add that they also bring conversation, or community. Having worked in journalism for years, I'd say that blogs offer an immediacy with the audience that mainsteam media lacks. Both play a role, but blogging is emerging not as a poor cousin but more as an equal partner.