DOUBTING THOMASES: TOO MANY NEWSPAPER EDITORS STILL QUESTION THE VALUE OF BLOGS

Newspaper editors mimic these monkeys when it comes to incorporating local bloggers in their print and Web pages. (Photo by by Demi Sourire/CC)

Newspaper editors mimic these monkeys when it comes to incorporating local bloggers in their print and Web pages. (Photo by by Demi Sourire/CC)

Even as Technorati is releasing its 2008 State of the Blogosphere report documenting the fact that 346 million people world-wide read blogs, that 184 million people world-wide have started a blog, and that there are almost a million blog posts a day, there are still doubters.

If blogging weren’t such an information creation and disbursement tsunami, I could shrug off editors who shrug off bloggers.

But bloggers represent one very powerful solution to the circulation/readership problems faced by newspapers. And editors ignore them at their peril.

In advance of my speech at the INMA Conference in Vienna, Austria next week, one of the organizers, Grzegorz Piechota, special projects editor/ product development manager of Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland, said he’d heard the doubts from editors.

And he wanted my answers for his blog: Forum4Editors.

So, over the next several days, I’ll be publishing their questions and my answers.

1. Newspapers have built their credibility by offering their readers selection and intelligible conveyance of news and stories of importance. Now you say that to stay relevant, they should integrate third-party content to their online and print service. Do not they risk their credibility?

Not at all.

I am NOT advocating that newspapers open their websites and print products to ALL third-party content, only to the BEST third-party content. Newspapers must use the intelligence and judgment that has come to represent their brand and apply it to the process of selecting the highest-quality local blogs.

Newspapers have historically been the source of the very best information about what’s going on in their market. It used to be that newspapers were the ONLY source in their market for high-quality information.

That is no longer true.

With the advent of the Internet and, in particular, blogging, there are now countless sources of high-quality information written by authors more expert in their fields than the newspaper’s reporters. Now, knowledgeable people in their fields, from health, automobiles, and art to finance, travel, and any number of other topics, are writing beautifully and intelligently about issues and events in those fields.

When it comes to publishing bloggers, you and only you decide which blogs will appear in your newspaper and on your website. This is NOT an open invitation to ALL bloggers. This is an opportunity for you to find, “vet” and then aggregate the very best local bloggers.

By aggregating the best local bloggers on the theme-appropriate pages of your website and newspaper (sports, fashion, business, sports, etc), you increasingly become THE source for all the best local information, whether you have created it or not. You save your readers the headache of having to search in multiple places for information they can now get in one place: your website and newspaper.

You instantly increase your reach, relevance and, if you monetize those pages, your revenue.

As Dan Gilmore, Director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State, said: “”Stop pretending that your organization is an oracle. It’s not. You don’t know everything, and even if you did, you couldn’t publish as much as you’d like to. Pointing to outside sources of information — especially local blogs and other media — is a great start. It does not mean that you endorse what these folks are saying or vouch for it, but it does mean that you recognize that others in your community are creating media with at least some information other people might want to see.”

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4 responses to “DOUBTING THOMASES: TOO MANY NEWSPAPER EDITORS STILL QUESTION THE VALUE OF BLOGS

  1. I certainly agree with you that newspapers should promote the best independent local content and try to find a way to make it pay both the newspaper and the independents.

    I don’t think that goes far enough. The opinions that rumble through the local blogosphere — whether there are “good” or misinformed, wildly angry or carefully reasoned — have started to have an impact on the real world. What happens in the blogosphere — say anger over a local real estate development — is news.

    Promoting the best local stuff is one part of a local blogging strategy, but giving readers the ability to monitor a broader swath of the locally relevant blogosphere is important too. Certainly it is not something that should be ceded to Internet pureplays like Technorati, Google, Outside.in and NowPublic.

  2. Pingback: ANSWERS TO EDITORS WORRIES ABOUT PUBLISHING LOCAL BLOGGERS, PART 2 « John Wilpers: Newspapers and local bloggers, a powerful partnership

  3. Pingback: REASSURANCE FOR EDITORS NERVOUS ABOUT USING BLOGS IN THEIR PAPERS & WEBSITES « John Wilpers: Newspapers and local bloggers, a powerful partnership

  4. Pingback: NERVOUS EDITORS, PART 3: HOW LONG WILL BLOGGERS TRADE CONTENT FOR EXPOSURE? « John Wilpers: Newspapers and local bloggers, a powerful partnership

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