Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 10:22 AM

How blogs create competition for pros

A short piece, with an important distinction.

Reading this NY Times piece about Brooklyn blogs, I was struck by two things.

  1. When blogs merge, they immediately stop being blogs. It's not an individual effort anymore, and that's the crucial part of being a blog, it has to be the voice of a person, not an organization. Yes, you can have blogs inside news organizations, Krugman is a great example of that. But the NY Times, where his blog posts appear, is not a blog because of that.

  2. The Times is, in my experience, unable to write about blogs with respect. They've been diminutive, dismissive, condescending. I'm sure there are exceptions, I haven't read every story at the NYT about blogs. But I've never read a piece about blogs and came away from it thinking, hey that was insightful, I really learned something there. Mostly what I learn is that the Times, collectively, is scared of blogs. It really shows.

Is this like two basketball players being dismissive of each other, something you almost never hear? Usually it's the opposite, they pump up the competition. Why? Well it's good sportmanship, for one thing. It also shows you're not scared of them, because respect indicates the opposite of fear. It also sets expectations. If they are great, then you really accomplished something. A classic example of win-win.

Blogs are the sources of journalists, going directly to the readers. And that's how blogging creates competition, by unbundling what journalists do, making it possible for information-seekers to go straight to the sources, without an intermediary. And when the intermediary adds so much noise to the story, why not go around them?

So blogs are close to being competition for pros. So it would be smart to stop the snark, and try to understand why blogs are useful to you, and the readers, and show appropriate respect. Reporters make a mistake in thinking blogs are somehow lesser than they are. We are a part of what they do, when things are working smoothly. And we provide an alternative to what they do, when they are not.

Last built: Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 5:51 PM

By Dave Winer, Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 10:22 AM. Shut up and eat your vegetables.