Wag the blog

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ROLLY G. REYES

MY last article featured the pros and cons of the PCOO’s accreditation of bloggers and several notable opinions of the two modes of communication. Further research enriched my understanding of the merits of both.

I succumbed rightly to the idea that these are changing times and we have to adjust our senses to this ever-changing environment. We consider a Ford Model T an icon but we have to welcome the idea of a fossil-less Tesla car, shift from smoke signals to smartphones and bonfires to LED lighting.

The upside of traditional media is that a lot more time and effort goes into reporting, editing, and presenting stories. They go through many tweaks before publication, and nearly every iteration makes them better. What you probably lose in quantity, you often make up in quality.

Blogging is a different beastie where corrections are very fluid, where whimsy and opinion matter as much as content. People can visit a homepage, scroll down and click on anything that catches their eye.Ahhh, freedom.


Blogs can also geek out its way that traditional journalists can’t. No space constraints online, so if one wants to spend tons of words writing a financial story, or if a scribe wants to forklift thousands of words getting into a specific environmental reform, they can.

The main impact I think is the way that blog reporting can be repaired or corrected instantly. In traditional media, you report the story and then you air or publish it; with blogs, you can start with something much less polished and then come back to it over time in many ways and from various angles. Every print journalist knows the feeling of publishing a story which is read by great sources who then provide lots of really good information which would have been great in the original piece. Bloggers don’t worry about that, they just put up a new post, or an update.

Blogs compete aggressively for audience. Blogs must now compete for readers’ attention like a newspaper on a stand. More people now pluck most of their news from their social networks or sites.

Newspapers are losing readers at an alarming rate to online reading and readers are reading not only newspapers, but blogs and many other types of sites.

Some blog sites are quite huge too. Not only do they have a newsroom of journalists and editors, but they have copy editors, layout editors, graphic artists, photographers, managing editors and more.

Blog readers are used to reading things for free. The biggest sources of traffic and growth come not from regular readers but from links from other blogs and news sites, social media, email, and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

In the old days, you only competed against other major news media. Now, lots of people are publishing news—including ordinary people who post news to Twitter, right when news is happening, as eyewitnesses.

Mainstream media’s main asset is credibility, not money or size. The difference between you and a blog isn’t the writing, or how fast you get the news, or how big you are, or even how deep your pockets are … but how much people trust you.

Some claim that most of the best bloggers were never journalists and many journalists aren’t good bloggers.

Blogs have succeeded in part because we are a community with an insatiable hunger for large discussions. Readers can connect with bloggers in ways they never connected with journalists.

Blog readers become news gatherers, and give them a voice and a channel for putting out the news. Let the community be your sources, in a new and exciting way, and you’ll need fewer employees.

Blogspots are lean but very well circulated. A tough act to follow by mainstream media. The best bloggers work from home, or from coffee shops or even carparks.

One reason also that they are very popular is they do not consume much time. An example of a popular blogsite is Newser.com and their slogan is “Read Less, Know More.”

Can we call bloggers “digital journos?” As more people consume news online, news organizations face the dilemma of reallocating resources to attract new readers and viewers while still trying to hold on to their existing, and usually aging, print or broadcast audiences.

Financial viability for newspapers and most magazines, at least for now, requires retaining as many existing print readers as possible.

Yet the trends are clear: people, especially the young, are turning to the Internet for more and more of their news and developing an effective digital strategy is essential for long-term survival.

The most common comparison of blogs and traditional newspaper outlets: the print edition contains longer feature stories, “sit-down” news to be perused, or articles about more leisurely activities. The website is updated throughout the day with breaking news and shorter articles, and offers searchable services like events calendars, dining guides, etc. to cater to the different interests of an online audience.

Ken Doctor, analyst and consultant on digital media, especially newspapers, has said: “They are essentially counterintuitive products; older readers who may like the idea of ‘reading the paper’ in its traditional format don’t like reading online while younger readers who like reading online find it nonsensical to read yesterday’s news and pay for it when they can read news of the moment free online.”

The thing is, mainstream media practitioners are also bloggers themselves and can be seen on most popular blog sites like WordPress, Wix, Weebly and the like. Traditional online news outlets have their blogs too like CNN, BBC, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, etc. We have ABS-CBN live blogs, Inquirer blog, Sunstar blog and others. And most are in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

My final verdict? Why fight? The two should embrace each other. They can complement each other in a dynamic way to help make their customers well informed which is the real goal of everyone.

Good work, good deeds and good faith to all.

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