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Print Media Sobs Bitterly About Bloggers

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A Tucson Weekly columnist put forth the half-joking suggestion that real journalists should take a year off and give bloggers nothing to borrow, as I’m doing here.

Boo hoo hoo. Michael Lenehan blames Craigslist, eBay, Google, Slate, Salon, newspapers with websites, Yahoo, Microsoft, and a host of blogs for leveling the traditional print media industry. One almost expects to see Cigarette-Smoking Man glaring at Lenehan through a haze of blue-tinged smoke.

The column goes on to criticize blogs like Wonkette for taking weekends off and not appearing to know or care that a real reporter created the story in the first place. Thus Lenehan suggests a year-long sabbatical for those real reporters and editors, just to show those bloggers who’s boss.

Guess what? The tech world may not even notice. Stories about the tech industry, whether it’s the over-extended coverage of Google or Apple, or the smallest niche blogs about video cards, tend to start at the non-traditional side of the media spectrum.

By a happy coincidence, the “paper of record,” the New York Times, gives us three examples where the value of traditional media comes into question, when it comes to tech news.

A Times reporter covered the very brief dustup between NewsCorp social networking site MySpace and video-sharing site YouTube. MySpace was not permitting YouTube videos to be embedded on MySpace sites, and even deleted any mentions of YouTube from messages. The two sites quickly resolved the situation.

Did the Times break this story on January 2nd? Not likely. I know of at least two stories about it that predated Julie Bosman’s piece by a week and a half, and there were others.

Plenty of bloggers and non-traditional media picked up on Saul Hansell’s story about graphical ads coming to Google’s search results. It’s quite true those stories couldn’t have been created without the hard work of a real reporter. Too bad that story proved rather amusingly wrong.

At least the Times doesn’t depend on bloggers for its tech news, right? Well, not really. The Times frequently uses contributions by author and A-list search blogger John Battelle when the conversation turns to topics like Google. The Times even figures as an investor in Battelle’s nascent publishing company Federated Media.

Those real reporters, editors, and newspapers do have value, and have demonstrated it over time. But let’s not dismiss the value online media and citizen journalism can bring to any conversation.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Print Media Sobs Bitterly About Bloggers
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