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Really? We’ll see about that, won’t we?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, January 19, 2007

In an article about increased readership for newspaper blogs, Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association in New Rochelle, N.Y. said this:
"As we go forward, blogging as a distinct activity is going to melt away because large media organizations are going to see it as a good place to be for them," he told TechNewsWorld.

"What you're going to see is that in time, the vast majority of the reading of blogs will be done on mainstream news and media outlets like those covered in the Nielsen survey, and a much smaller percentage, a very small percentage of the reading of blogs, will be done at what has traditionally been thought of as blogs — these small, independent, snarky, personal sites," he maintained.
Really? Why would MSM maintained blogs necessarily change this dynamic? Why, for instance, does Cox think these "small, independent, snarky, personal sites" have thrived to this point? Part of their charm is the fact that they are "small, independent, snarky and personal". They tend, at least among the good ones, to form a community.

Blogs, especially political blogs, began as a popular backlash to MSM dominance in the how the news was presented and, in many cases, the dearth of opposing opinion. Blogs present, for the most part, opinion, not news. And for the most part, they provide alternate opinions which to this point have been popular and sought out. The fact that large media corporations are now going to have 'blogs', changes nothing in that dynamic in particular except now there's another source for discussion on independent blogs.
Traffic to blog pages at the top 10 newspaper sites jumped 210 percent in December compared to the same month in 2005.

Moreover, blogs garnered 13 percent of all traffic Free How-To Guide for Small Business Web Strategies - from domain name selection to site promotion. to the sites during the month, compared to only 4 percent in December 2005, according to findings released Wednesday by Nielsen//NetRatings, a media and market research firm based in New York City.

The top online newspaper sites had 29.9 million unique visitors in December 2006, compared to 27.4 million in December 2005, or an increase of 9 percent, Nielsen reported.

Meanwhile, there were 3.8 million unique visits to blog pages during December 2006, compared to 1.2 million in December 2005, or an increase of 210 percent.
Cox, for some reason, seems to believe this is a a zero sum game and if readership at newspaper (or media) blogs go up, it necessarily means that readership on independent blogs must go down.

Not necessarily. In fact, it could just as easily go up for independent blogs as well. Why?

Other than format and the ability for instant feedback, media blogs essentially provide the same product ... news. Unless these media outlets plan on moving their opinion pages to the blog as well and have the opinion writers engage the blog readers, not much is changed. And I just don't see the demand for alternative opinion fading simply because newspapers offer news through blogs. And interestingly, there is a distinct possibility that much of the increased traffic to newspaper blogs may have been driven there by posts and links on independent blogs.

So, with all due resepect to Mr. Cox, I'm not ready to buy into his belief that blogging, such as QandO and others, will melt away simply because the NYT and Boston Globe have decided to get into blogging.

Background:

In case you're not familiar with the Robert Cox or the Media bloggers Association, go here. The mission of the MBA is:
The Media Bloggers Association is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of "blogging" or "citizen journalism" as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.
 
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what cox means is: "all your blogs are belong to us"
 
Written By: window licker
URL: http://
This is as good an example as I’ve seen of the arrogance of professional media types. They really do see themselves as an enlightened elite. They think once they’ve mastered the blogging delivery model, the rest of us unenlightened peons that got here first will just fade away.

Sorry, but I’d rather read James Lileks or Bill Quick any day of the week than anything I’ve ever seen in mainstream media. I’d rather depend on what Glenn Reynolds thinks I ought to take a look at than any professional journalist I’ve ever known.

I’d rather hear about licking fire ants off a stick than the pasty, equivocal stuff media types put out.

If they can get the news to me more quickly by blogging, hey, great, I’ll check them out. But when it comes to opinion journalism, they’ll have to prove to me that they have a product worth reading before I’ll take them seriously. I don’t care to waste my time on Dewayne Wickham wannabees or Paul Krugman clones, because they’re (1) laborious to read, and (2) far more often wrong than right.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Cox, for some reason, seems to believe this is a a zero sum game and if readership at newspaper (or media) blogs go up, it necessarily means that readership on independent blogs must go down.
He might be used to a saturated market where the only way to gain customers for yourself is to get them from someone else. To some extent, every second that I’m here reading you is a second that I’m not over there reading them so when I start running out of time during the day, who will I skip?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
When rapid change occurs in any field, "experts" will quickly move to explain how the change will positively affect the existing industry. The problem with these expert opinions is they are deeply biased by their historical ties to the preexisting business. While this does not mean their opinions are defacto wrong it usually follows that they are. For example, when computers first began making serious inroads into business in the early 1970’s, paper industry experts forecast serious declines in sales of bond paper. Why? They believed that people would be able to read information on the computer screen and would not need a print out. In fact, the opposite occurred. Where before it was difficult and expensive to type up information and then make copies, now information could be quickly and easily be prepared in myriad formats. Paper sales soared and remain high.

I would take the opinion of these experts with a grain of salt.
 
Written By: Maddog
URL: http://
It will certainly be interesting to see how it shakes out.

Considering only the political blogosphere much of the traffic and linking continues to be to a relatively small number of blogs and those, with only a few upstart exceptions, are the inhabitants of the upper rungs of the Ecosystem. By and large the few upstarts have been successful at least partly on the basis of name recognition but also on the bases of hard work and identifying a solid niche.

If current newspapers, magazines, and television networks achieve dominance of the political blogosphere it will suggest that name recognition alone is the blogosphere’s driving principle. I’m more inclined to the idea that while the market positioning will help it will take more than that to get any real traffic.

As I say, it will be interesting.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
"What you’re going to see is that in time, the vast majority of the reading of blogs will be done on mainstream news and media outlets like those covered in the Nielsen survey, and a much smaller percentage, a very small percentage of the reading of blogs, will be done at what has traditionally been thought of as blogs — these small, independent, snarky, personal sites," he maintained.
Reminds me of Professor Frink of Simpsons fame predicting that within 100 years, computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the 5 richest kings of Europe will own them. Heh.

How do they not understand that we’re past the era where people are judged by who they write for, instead of how and what they write. I know, it’s a cutthroat meritocracy.
 
Written By: Jinnmabe
URL: http://
I’m more concerned about the future of the MSM than the phenomenon of blogging. Every announcement of another cut in staff is a bad sign.
Bloggers do what they do, but they can not do full investigative reporting, which might take months of fact-finging, interviews, etc. just for one story.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://

 
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