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Journalism

Michael Arrington fights Cnet

Michael Arrington has a dispute with Cnet. He finds himself attacked by a journalist of the tech website. The ‘why’ is a matter I don’t want to go into and have nothing to do with.

The thing that is very interesting is Michaels blog-respond to the Cnet journalist. He has a few strong arguments that can be applied to every news-organization.

“…Based on my estimates, the average A-List blogger generates 10x the page views that the average journalist does.”

“…CNET is but a shadow of its former self

I’m not saying bloggers are better journalists. Fact is bloggers are very good in creating communities. In a news-organization the individual isn’t important it is about the brand. No matter how you might think about blogs and bloggers, over the last years blogs grew in authority, trust, reach and revenue.

The question is not if a blogger is a journalist, the question should be if a journalist is a blogger. The skills of a blogger are valuable. In a web atmosphere they might be even much more valuable than the skills of a journalist. If you can successful combine both you’re in pole position.

Being a journalist on the web is not just about writing anymore, it is about communicating. Getting involved in the topics and with your readers.

And it should be over with the useless discussion that a blogger isn’t objective. His career is at stake, even more than with traditional journalists. A blogger isn’t protected by the editors and brand of a media company. A blogger has the same reasons as a journalist to be objective.

The quote above says that Cnet is a shadow of itself. Maybe they are still making profits and showing healthy growth. One thing they don’t do enough is engaging with the audience. And this is why Michael Arrington gets the stories Cnet should have.

Engagement is what makes Cnet an island (and this is not just about Cnet). Getting of this island is the biggest challenge that traditional media will have to overcome in the next years.

I work at a newspaper with over 200 journalists, these are very smart people who are all expert in a certain area; finance, politics, immigration, sports, European Union. If all these people would start writing a blog about the topics they are interested in I’m sure the combined reach of the blogs would be much higher than the reach of current website. And there would evolve strong communities around certain topics.

We just have to find a way to create a daily newspaper out of all these blogs without extra effort ;)

2 replies on “Michael Arrington fights Cnet”

“And it should be over with the useless discussion that a blogger isn’t objective. His career is at stake…”

A blogger can have an axe to grind ; he may even gather tons of “support”.

I believe a journalist’s career should be at stake if he can be called a lobbyist or activist. But aren’t there quite a few activist bloggers out there? And isn’t that even ok for a blogger to be highly subjective?

Maybe blogging is a mix, but as a job there should be clear job titles to make the distinction.

On a another point : historically, journalist organisations trying TOO hard to “engage” the audience has gotten them into trouble. Will there ever be the phrase “yellow blogging”? :-)

Good point, thanks for your comment. Sure bloggers can be subjective, a blog is most of the times personal. I think most (life)bloggers are very subjective and this is great they just say how they think about something.

The discussion is often generalized to the question if bloggers can be objective at all. I think this discussion is wrong.

I don’t think that one rules out another. A blog can also be objective. It depends on the topic of the blog, the blogger and how the blog is written.

Journalists at a newspapers or television station often have a (personal) political agenda. This doesn’t mean they can’t bring the news itself objective. The use a simple trick called “Audi alteram partem“. In blogs we have comments, trackback and Google.

A job title to make the distinction is good. But on what authority? The best check is to use the openness of the web. Open up your comments and start talking with the people that respond. With this you gain trust, a complete story and thus objectivity.

I think if a blogger is open about who he is and what his interest in the blog are the context or focus of the blog is created.

The phrase ‘yellow blogging’ suits perfect, we should you it. The amount of ‘high quality’ gossip blogs is rising. High quality meaning that these blogs are very good in yellow blogging.

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