Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, June 2, 2006

Blogs And User-Generated Media Value Vs. The Traditional Media Business Conundrum: What Differs?

"Why is news media yet unable to effectively understand how to best integrate user-generated content into their key online and offline publications?"

Greg Sandoval at CNET News has a great summary of the relative non-progress of newspapers in adopting weblogs effectively.

Photo credit: Jason Stitt

While deals such as the recently announced AP/Technorati alliance are making blogs more prominent in mainstream news outlets when they link to their content, for the most part news organizations are pretty timid in supporting true user-generated media under their editorial umbrellas.

Greg catalogs many of the recent failures as well as the bright spot of community-driven weblogs developed by the Austin Statesman-American, content that has its own featured spot on their online home page.

But even here their weblog content is off to the side: it's not "editorial" content from a news organization's perspective. This gap is accentuated in Greg's piece by Patrick Williams, managing editor of the Dallas Observer, who wrestles with journalists who put out their leftovers in personal blogs and the wealth of self-proclaimed opinion-makers who fail to put out any new facts in their weblogs.



Yet behind these stalking horse excuses lies the real truth: user-generated media confuses publishers.

Oftentimes it's messy, illiterate, non-journalistic and crass - yet oftentimes it's true and compelling in ways that journalists never dare to be.

Bloggers tend to stay on their soap boxes, which can be annoying if you don't like what they're saying but they tend to stick with issues and stories in ways that journalists chasing trendy stuff oftentimes fail to emulate.

The power of national and global advertising markets killed any sense of true objectivity in journalism: too many dollars chasing too few truths for too many people.

The stakes have become too high, much as in Chris Anderson's "Long Tail" the stakes for mass-market premium content have become so high that publishers take very few chances in creating content for the greatest number with the least common denominator.

Graph credit: Chris Anderson - Lonmg Tail

But in the Long Tail the model for profits reverse: it's okay to make a little bit of money off of a ton of things that get monetized when people surface their value individually or collectively.

So you do get a lot of junk in weblogs, but the junk trickles away from meaningful contexts while the true and truly entertaining content has a way of finding an audience
all on its own.

Photo credit: Dez Pain

What is then quality journalism in a weblog-driven world?

The stuff that doesn't go away, the stuff that continues to get linked to by people in the know again and again.

Weblogs are truth in motion, content that's willing to wait and to work to find an audience for its truth to develop or to have it flushed out in a flash as the occasion dictates.

Traditional journalism is based on the concept that you have only one chance to print the truth correctly for mass-produced profits and immortality.

Weblogs offer the truth the opportunity to bump around for a while, finding its own footing like a baby stumbling through its first stroll across a room with helping hands at the ready. This type of truth oftentimes fails to draw mass advertising for its real-time state, but that's okay: it will be real-time whenever its focused audience is ready for it.

Most newspapers will fail to embrace weblogs and other forms of user-generated media because of its inherent lack of appeal for mass advertisers - and in the process turn loose a world of news content to be contextualized elsewhere for very targeted online advertisers who are willing to wait for the content that its audience desires to come along.

The truth may not make us rich in this model, but it will liberate the truth from mass market monologues and make it a part of focused conversations that will yield a greater value to society as a whole.

The sooner that news organizations work to contextualize a truth whose time has come regardless of its source the sooner that they will be on the road to a hybridized model that will sustain their long-term financial health.

I'm not optimistic for this happening any time soon, but you never know.

Originally written by John Blossom as part of his News Analysis section with the original title: "

Letting Blogs be Blogs: "Long Tail" Journalism Produces Evolutionary Truth
" on June 1st 2006

Read more about John Blossom qualified views and reporting on the content publishing and distribution business at

John Blossom -
Reference: Shore [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
blog comments powered by Disqus
posted by Robin Good on Friday, June 2 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




Real Time Web Analytics