Newspapers blog? Naaa
Monday, January 26th, 2004
Last week, Newspaper Association of America threw a blog at its annual Internet convention and nobody came.
So why didn’t it work? Were all attendees just too busy? Isn’t it rewarding enough any more to get your voice heard? Are we transforming into a bunch of lurkers who prefer to profit from the work of others but aren’t willing to get involved ourselves? Or are we already at a turn of the life-circle of the blogging phenomenon, where this will become more and more a professional business and the vast majority of people will look for a new tool? [Via Buzzmachine]
I’ve done a lot of puzzling about what makes blogs BUZZ while newspapers just gargle.
Voice? Blogrolling? Simplicity? Authenticity? Speed of delivery? Brainstorming? All of these help.
But can these factors full explain why a blog post by Josh Marshall or Atrios or Glenn Reynolds gets 100 times more readers than an article written by an individual employed by NYTimes.com?
Then, commmenting last week on Welch’s blog, it hit me. Enemies.
Trying to economize to take advantage of the telegraph and pool copy via the Associated Press, newspapers neutered themselves by impartializing their articles. (You’ve heard how partisan AND popular newspapers were 100 years ago, right? It’s been downhill ever since.)
Most communities are forged as much by antagonism to others as by fraternity with peers. To create and sustain themselves, NY needs NJ, the Red Sox need the Yankees, Yale needs Harvard, North needs South, Democrats need Republicans… ad infinitum.
Blogs, which are blatantly and joyously partisan, can actually get into dialogs and debate. And it is partisan debate that drives traffic and passion and community… the wonders of blogging.
And I don’t think any newspaper or, frankly, any top-down VC-funded friendship-linkster tinkertoy is going to match the blogging’s magical partisanship either.
Update: Steve Outing points out that the Poynter post I cite above was written by Katja Riefler, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Poynter Institute.