Too many big, ordinarily smart newspapers still refuse to involve high-quality local bloggers and vloggers on their websites and in the pages of their paper in any significant way beyond a lame, well-hidden, token local blogger index page (if that).
Now the thieves are at the door, about to make off with the family jewels (audience and advertising) and newspapers are leaving the doors unlocked and the valuables in plain sight.
Arianna Huffington’s announcement last week that she will be launching 12 local Huffington Posts with aggregated news and local bloggers is only the tip of the iceberg, the flashiest fox in the henhouse. The chairman of the board of one of the top U.S. dailies told me last week that he is seeing a lot of other crafty characters coming into his market looking to steal market share in exactly the same way, and he’s finally ready to act.
It’s time for editors to drop their tired excuses: “Bloggers aren’t journalists,” and “they’re just loonies in jammies,” and “my paper’s reputation will be sullied” (hey, guys, YOU choose which ones to publish!).
Pull in the best local bloggers and vloggers now or lose them and the thousands of folks who follow them, going where they can find the best local content and communities of shared interests.
So, in the spirit of your mom’s classic “I’m only going to tell you once more” warning, here’s a whack upside the head for what I’m calling:
THE BLIND PEWS: AMERICA’S TOP 10 MOST PURBLIND PAPERS
The biggest papers in the biggest markets with the biggest collections of local bloggers…that don’t have a single non-staff blogger on their website or in their paper. (Psst: Blind Pew was a blind pirate in Robert Louis Stevensen’s “Treasure Island”; the photo is of Blind Pew from “The Muppets Treasure Island.”)
1. New York Times: (All the news that’s fit to print but none of the local blogs)
2. Chicago Tribune (TribLocal is a great hyperlocal site, but it ain’t tribune.com and thus keeps the bloggers where they belong)
3. Washington Post (Local bloggers are merely indexed and place on a non-intuitive, hard-to-find site called “projects.washingtonpost.com/local-blogs-directory”)
4. New York Daily News (Daily News to Bloggers: Drop Dead)
5. New York Post (Blog-less Website In Clueless Paper)
6. Philadelphia Inquirer (“Yo, Adrian, where are the blogs?”)
7. Boston Globe (Just two index pages, the biggest at boston-online.com, not boston.com.)
8. Atlanta Journal-Constitution (“Frankly, my dear bloggers, we don’t give a damn…!”)
9. Newsday (Local bloggers are phantoms like so many readers were.)
10. San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate: From leaders to laggers)
Next post: “The Blind Pews, Members 11-20″