Mainstream media struggles with blogging

I was at a regional bloggers conference yesterday, where several bloggers spoke about blogging and the value of bloggers to the community as well as the value of business-oriented blogs. One of the invited speakers was a local TV newsperson who has a fairly lightweight blog, and while this person started off talking about blogging, they quickly veered into a fingerpointing lecture about how "real" journalists have gone to journalism school and are trained in the ethics of reporting the news. It went downhill from there. It was particularly comical coming from a news organization that frequently has breathless reports on things like "Dust Bunnies: Are they hazardous to your health and what you NEED TO KNOW!!" Okay, I made that up, but it is not far off the mark. Some area bloggers are actually doing a very good job of covering more local and neighborhood level news, like Keith Clinton's Southeast Roanoke blog, which is a great example.

I have maintained for a long time that traditional news organizations have a healthy and even profitable future if they can adapt to the new realities of the news business, but at least some of them are apparently going to do so kicking and screaming. It was clear from this person's talk that they did not taking blogging seriously, as they said that they "did not have time" for blogging because they were "busy writing news stories." Um, maybe that's the whole point....if you are busy writing news stories, that's content for a news blog. But that clearly went way over their heads. I am not one who thinks that everyone will be blogging in the future; good blogs require good writing, and good writing has nothing whatsoever to do with technology. Access to easy blogging tools does not make you a good writer automatically. That's why most blogs are abandoned in less than three months. But blogging is a new kind of writing and yes, journalism tool. Every business and organization ought to know the basics of blog tools, how they work, and should be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to use blogging as part of an organizational or community strategy. And that includes economic developers.

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