Mainstream Media Blog Check


Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 — 5:12pm PST
Comments 15

Blog vs mainstream media (msm) blogs, can they co-exist? Of course they can but often times at meetups and in general discussions with other persons-of-tech I find there’s a bit of laughter at msm’s expense. Is it that they just don’t “get” blogging? Do they not understand the concept or general idea? Or is it that they are and will always be the media giants and we will always be the citizen journalists; crowd-sourcing and generating our own content of interest.

A couple of months ago The Province launched a blog. Although it is infrequently updated and often parcels entertainments stories with those of political unrest and tragedy, I check The Newsroom every few days to see just what they’re up to now. I wholly appreciate the link love in the sidebar but I have a hunch that sometimes they’re just scooping their content from blogs anyway.

Canucks Nation? Keep Trying, Province Today they launched “Canucks Nation“, a section of their site that includes a blog, news, scores and a contest. I find the choice of title particularly interesting since I already know a blogger that owns the domain CanucksNation.com and then Rod’s got CanuckNation.ca. Also, The Province’s rendition of Canucks Nation has a banner that sports Air Canada colours, the same shade of green along with a bright red maple leaf. Need I explain why that is off-putting?

“didn’t you hear? newspapers can call things whatever they want and it will become true.” – Richard Eriksson

I find it amusing when mainstream media covers topics and issues that everyone’s been talking about for ages so it really isn’t news to anyone’s ears. Stuff that bloggers, the public and even my grandma discuss often gets picked up months after it should be news. What makes the powers that be decide when something is newsworthy?

Transit users in the Valley often deal with long wait times, and say commuting into Vancouver is a major pain. [News 1130 – October 3, 2007]

Really? Wow I had no idea. I know, there I go being typical blogger acting all snarky about what “the man” is saying, right? Well I think it’s more like a citizen of this city and former suburbanite just knowing what is going on and how real things affect real people. Sure it’s great that they’re finally discovering that at 7:00pm on a weeknight the Surrey Central to Newton Exchange bus only comes once an hour, but do we really need former Premier Mike Harcourt to tell us that in a news quote?

“I will raise my voice in celebration of Vancouver’s hyper-groovy, decentralized, makeshift, social media production squad.” – Dave Olson – Raincity Studios

When the Workspace crime happened it was all over the web in a matter of minutes (but that was mostly the supposed perpetrator’s fault, har har). But if not for blog posts, it wouldn’t have been on CTV news or in the Globe and Mail the next day. I think the big guys need us little guys. Not only as sources but also as readers. But does that go both ways?

Bloggers like the news, we like it when our news becomes real news.

My page views go up 200% more on a day when I’m linked off Matthew Good, Tony Pierce or Boris Mann‘s websites than they do when I’m in the Metro Vancouver paper. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the exposure as it certainly makes my little voice here even louder (and my mom loves collecting 10 copies of each issue) but the audience is different. So why don’t mainstream outlets who want to go blog make content more applicable for their online audience?

Miss604 in the 24 Hours todayA good example would be Buzz who blogs about his weekly columns in the 24 Hours. He writes about tech and puts his money where his mouth is, delivering it to the mainstream in print but transferring it into the internet world with a blog post and links. Also, if not for him Ustreaming his afternoon program I probably would never tune into 95 Crave and hear about their lovely sponsors and promotions.

Don’t get me wrong, I watch the news in the morning and listen to radio, and it’s an absolute thrill to be mentioned on any sort or program or in print. But I get most of my daily information from the internet, as do many others. These are the types of things that work for me, and the things I pay attention to.

“…if you want your “story told” you want it to reach as many people as possible” – Tod Maffin

So why do us bloggers sometimes scoff at the mainstream media when they go to start a blog? Maybe we’re jerks – just kidding – but maybe it’s because they’re just not doing it right in our eyes. There are examples of mainstream organizations translating their information offerings into the digital world but I find local msm blogs just aren’t accomplishing this in a very attractive fashion.

I like having credibility and applicable content that’s got my personal spin. No one else can duplicate my voice, but they can have their own in the wonderful land of blogging. That’s what’s so great about blogging.

If the big news guys in this town are going to blog and officially represent the masses, spoon feeding the population their factoids and video clips of Avril Lavigne, they should provide for their audience, speak to their audience and most importantly, listen.

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15 comments

  1. Jordan says:

    great post, RB.

    You’re saying what we (us, not them) believe to be true, and when they all fall in line and embrace bloggers as the trusted sources that they are…you’ll have the last laugh.

    Or the first, as it were.

  2. bz says:

    What I say on the radio and read on the internet, makes it to tv and newspapers 2 days later most times.

    But that’s the challenge of the different media. The internet and radio can be instant. TV is fragmented into programs, so it can be quick to react, but is a little behind the other two. Print needs to be physically created and delivered, thereby being the slowest way to transmit news.

    So all have challenges and reasons why they can be ‘best.’

    But here’s the thing.. not everyone is on a computer 18hrs a day reading blogs and devouring news. People are digging ditches, performing surgery, raising children, cleaning houses and making dinner. For those busy, and mostly “unplugged” people, 6 oclock news and the morning paper is a convenient way to be informed.

    While you can chastize papers for being slow and out of touch, and news for being sensational, old and irrelevant, you can’t discount that we all have different needs.

    You have to reach out and build a bridge, bitching about it accomplishes nothing. I’m not saying you’re bitching about it, but I have read more than a few blogs calling people “ignorant” when you just have to realize we’re all different.

    Build the bridge…. show the papers and the tv and the radio how to do it better, cause they sure as hell have proven they can’t figure it out for themselves.

    That’s what I try at Crave. I brought the cam in on my own initiative. I introduced blogging to our page and management and the other jocks have bought in to the program ..

    Great piece, as always Bec.. you should be writing for the papers, you’re wasted on the web 😉 lol. jk.

  3. bz says:

    btw .. 24hrs is a paper that ‘gets’ it. they have a full archive of podcasts on their site at 24hrs.ca – much of it is content unique to the website alone.

  4. Richard says:

    I own canucksnation.com and I’m half-heartedly building a community site about the Vancouver Canucks. Half-heartedly because there’s already a vibrant community of Canucks bloggers out there, which the site syndicates, so there’s little incentive to cross-post.

    Thanks for the quote, and just so we’re clear, if anybody gets the idea that I think newspapers make stuff up on a regular basis, that’s far from the case. If anything I was exaggerating that they sometimes don’t get their facts straight and have to laboriously correct themselves when they notice, which takes until the next issue comes out, by which time people who put faith in their authority have already made up their minds. These days if newspapers don’t play the role of amplifier and contextualizer, then they really should, because they still have large audiences and excellent writers and, seemingly, time to put together a coherent story or background. So I don’t see it as a bloggers vs. newspapers battle, but more of an opportunity of each to learn from each other and negotiate roles that each fill better than the other.

    Buzz is close to right when he kiddingly says Miss 604 should write for a newspaper. She already writes a regular, almost scheduled, article with a fairly consistent word/paragraph count if you ask me, and it gets syndicated (literally on sites like Urban Vancouver and figuratively when people link to her), so to me that makes her a columnist of sorts. The days of big media may be numbered, but they’re not gone. The age of the monolithic exclusive, with so many people writing great stuff from different perspectives, though, are long over. It’s time for the bigs to stop pretending as if they’re the only act in town.

  5. Raul says:

    Rebecca,

    Definitely good post. I started blogging last year, in April 2006. It all started because a friend of mine introduced me to Blogspot and her blog was very interesting. The only way for me to know what was going on with her life was to read her blog. We did that from 2004 to 2006, when I moved back to Vancouver.

    She no longer blogs, and my own writing has started to take off, thanks as well to fellow bloggers who have paved the way for me (yourself included). I probably wouldn’t have done Blogathon 2007 if you hadn’t done it. Your writing, as Richard has put it, is frequent, refreshing and regularly posted (so yeah, that’d make you a columnist).

    I know a few journalists, and they scramble to get their teeth on stories like you have no idea. So, it is understandable (as Buzz puts it) that they take a few days to get to the news. I wouldn’t want to be in a journalist’s shoes, to be quite frank. I just read a very well written piece by Steve Smuynick (I was planning to blog about it later tonight) on the challenges and perils of a male sex trade worker (see link below). Honestly, for me, it would have been really hard to write this specific piece, because I would (really) feel physical pain from listening to these stories.

    http://www.straight.com/article-111630/ex-hustler-hopes-to-help-men-in-sex-trade

    The way I read your post is not a rant, definitely. I think you are indeed trying to build the bridges between us, bloggers, and them, mainstream media. But things can also go terribly wrong and get viral. See for example what happened to danah boyd when she posted a half-baked idea that turned up on the BBC and got quoted as a scientific study (when danah herself made it clear it was just a half-baked idea). So, I think that sometimes the mainstream media should NOT get their content from our blogs, because things can get horribly misinterpreted.

    My readership actually increases when I post comments on your blog, as a matter of fact 😀 — Sometimes people look at my blog after already having read yours. And that’s also very healthy and positive, because you are a person who builds bridges amongst very different communities. I think you should be commended for that 😀

    Ok, sorry. This comment should have been a blog post on my own blog. Apologies for the length! 😀

  6. Darren says:

    Great post. I remember last year when the Vancouver Sun launched a short-lived ‘From the Blogosphere’ weekly editorial by some guy who didn’t have a blog. I was kind of shocked that they didn’t hit up, you know, you or me or Boris or any local blogger who actually has a corner lot in the blogosphere.

    One thing the mainstream media has is subheadings–I’ve embraced them for the longer posts, and I’m trying to spread the good news.

  7. Darren says:

    And why didn’t The Province hire existing Canucks bloggers to write their new hockey blogs? I assume ‘unions’ are the answer, but I’ll be curious to see if they sustain themselves, and gather a readership.

  8. Miss604 says:

    News 1130 reports this morning that Canucks ticket prices have risen

    “The price of a ticket is up 12% this year, and you know you’ll be shelling out for a highly overpriced beer and hot dog if you go to the game.”

    Oh man, if only we knew about this before.

  9. Raul says:

    😀 I completely understand your frustration. That was a whooping 9 days after your post. But then again, you are one heck of a talented Vancouver blogger and you have good ideas – it will just take some mainstream media a few days to pick up on these (that is, until we have established the bridges we’ve been talking about).

    By the way, have you checked the local link love from Beyond Robson’s Morning Brew? 🙂

  10. Miss604 says:

    Full credit goes to JJ who did the comparison and calculations back in September.

    And yes, the morning brew link love is awesome – although I was surprised there was no comment, just a nice little phrase and a link. 🙂

  11. Rod says:

    I have to agree with Buzz on this one, too. A lot of times the stuff that makes it to the paper and on to the TV is delayed due to the fact that MSM journalists will fact check and verify sources before reporting anything (well, usually, any way). Bloggers don’t have to do that, obviously, but the better ones, who want to be taken as a reliable source of information/news, generally try to follow the same rules.

    As for why the Province didn’t hire bloggers? Probably the unions, like Darren mentioned, but they’re really just columnists. At least they allow comments, though.

  12. Raul says:

    Sorry, last comment I promise, but while we are on this topic, this appeared on my “Quotes of the Week”

    “To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.”
    – Aleister Crowley

    And here is the link source:
    http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/27700.html

    Thoughts?

  13. sean orr says:

    Nothing to say really. If I don’t have something really awful to say, don’t say it at all!

  14. […] allowed to blog and it’s perfectly acceptable, whether or not they’re doing a good job can be argued, but it’s now becoming the norm. However, I find the general attitude towards the concept of […]

  15. […] BAR – A very good post by Rebecca picked up on these points last year, and it’s still very […]

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