Barnhart on the gulf between bloggers, reporters

I’ve never heard of Aaron Barnhart, but he sure is smart.

It is tired. Why do you think blogs vs. print issue has such legs? Navel gazing on the part of reporters/bloggers?

That’s partly to blame, I’m sureā€”but I think there are deeper reasons. With bloggers, I think it’s simple. They like to see themselves as part of something big, grand and revolutionary. Many, I think, genuinely believe they are transforming the media by challenging the mainstream media (MSM), although I’m not sure there is much hard proof of that. Beyond that, that anti-MSM stance is the fire that keeps their blogs going. It informs a lot of what they write.

Many print journos, on the other hand, don’t understand blogging and see bloggers as irritants, people who criticize their work but also wouldn’t have material for their blogs if not for the MSM. Meanwhile, every newsroom in America now has top management beating the drum for their staff to “do blogs,” even though it’s clear that many journalists in print and TV haven’t the foggiest idea how or why they should “do” one. (Witness the trail of busted blogs across news organizations.)

I just spoke on blogs to a features editors’ convention so I know that interest remains high. Editors are not dumb, they know their staff should be doing them, but that many don’t want to and many staff blogs go untended.

But journalists are torn on this. They know money is flowing out the door. They know a lot of it is going to online (though not necessarily enriching the people who criticize their work so passionately). They know they need to get with the program. But many aren’t sure how to proceed, or if ultimately their expenditure of effort online will be worth the effort.

Via Romenesko

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