Big Surprise – NY Times Critical of Blogging *GASP*

22Feb06

In an article from last Saturday, New York Times columnist, Dan Mitchell discusses Dave Sifry’sState of the Blogosphere” and is far from complimentary of blogging on the whole, and I’m shocked. Aren’t you? A journalist critical of the medium that is, in part, increasingly putting journalists just like him out of work? (Note: I tried to find a link to the an article about the NYT laying off 4 percent of its staff, but only found dead links. Makes ya wonder — here’s a link to a re-posting of it.)

“The State of the Blogosphere” presented at sifry.com this week by David L. Sifry, the founder of Technorati, a leading blog search site, shows just how complicated things have become. According to Mr. Sifry’s data, mainstream media sites, as measured by the number of blogs linking to them, are trouncing news-oriented blogs by a growing margin. Bloggers link to The New York Times Web site about three times as often as they link to the technology-oriented Boingboing.net. Only four blogs show up in the top 33 sites.

But it isn’t the data or the rankings that matter most here. More interesting is that it’s becoming hard to tell what is a blog and what is mainstream media.”

And why is it that it’s becoming hard to differentiate? My guess would be because the MSM is being forced adapt to the changes taking place online and in the reading habits of people, just as PR and other fields are being forced to change. We all are.

“Meanwhile, more and more mainstream media sites are blogging. In the end, users are most likely drawn to sites for the quality and trustworthiness of the material presented.”

This is a valid point. The reliability of blog content just isn’t there yet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t organizations out there striving for said trustworthiness or credibility. I think the blogosphere should try to define itself as a complementary addition to MSM coverage and not a direct competitor since the lines are blurring anyway. I realize this isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish since the MSM is increasingly blogging itself, like Mitchell says, but ultimately, the best way to bring credibility to blog content is to legitimize it. I posted the other day on the change BlogBurst is fueling — that’s probably a step in the right direction. It’s just too bad that the two sides haven’t yet found a middle ground because both add value, as one wise man once said. 🙂

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2 Responses to “Big Surprise – NY Times Critical of Blogging *GASP*”

  1. I think that blogs have a long way to go in the way of original reporting, they also could be called biased, and much more so than MSM. On the other hand, I wonder how much traffic blogs point to MSM sites? Where do you think all those links to the New York Times came from? They really should work to amplify each other.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Kami. I agree with you that blogs have a long way to go on the original reporting side and they definitely are biased — but I don’t think we can honestly say that the MSM is unbiased. Can we?

    Despite the ground blogs still need to cover, I think they can serve as nice additions to MSM coverage. I mean, bloggers, for the most part, rely on the MSM to motivate their commentary. Also, to some extent the MSM needs blogs (link-factor) to help drive readership to good stories. So, to me this makes sense. But, we agree, aplification — a working together for the greater good type of movement — would be awesome.


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