Are bloggers parasites?
Is this a tick "questing" or a blogger looking for news?

Robert Niles of the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review states,
Over the past months, I've heard several journalists make the same comment at various industry forums: That blogs are a "parasitic" medium that wouldn't be able to exist without the reporting done at newspapers.
Case in point: I've just "parasitized" Mr. Niles' commentary. Some might say I have "sucked the life" from his post for my own traffic. So probably not as many people will read this entry as have already linked to his, but that is another story. Or is it? Have I, by taking part in this conversation, taken any value from his entry? Or have I added to its validity as yet one more person recommending others to read it?

Is it any different than clipping an article from the local paper and mailing it to my mother? Or talking about a news story with friends over coffee?

As many others in the discussion have pointed out, these journalists are really only talking about a certain subset of blogs. They certainly are not talking about the many encouraging homeschool blogs out there like my "blog mom" who shares thoughts on her journey with the Principle Approach. Or the literally millions out there like my new virtual friend from South Africa who blogs primarily about family life. And there are those who provide their own original reporting.

Not around here. You mostly get quotes and links to whatever happens to strike my interest, with my own personal bias commentary attached. So I guess I'm a parasite. Although I seriously doubt I am having or ever will have an impact on the declining profitability of print media. And I do believe that is the root of the accusation.

So, assuming you are one of the millions of Americans who no longer reads the local paper, why did you stop reading it?

I stopped reading the paper regularly long before I ever even heard of a blog. I stopped because I found the newspapers themselves lacking and not worth the time and money to read them. Some of that is due to the bias of the media. A lot of it is because I do not like the superficial presentation. I infinitely prefer formats such as NPR which give a lot more information and put some history into the story. Not that I expect that of my local paper. That isn't really what a newspaper is good at. Nor is it what a blog is good at, unless you read it over time. Over time, a well-written and focused blog will give you a history of an idea and a multitude of examples to back up its argument.

Over time, The Liberty Papers will give you a view on politics that I do not wholly subscribe to, but find thought provoking. Over time, blogs such as Go Big Ed or Joanne Jacobs will give you a broader perspective on education issues. Over time, you will probably come to the conclusion that I exist in my own little secluded world, but that is ok. I think I am about 200 years behind in my political thinking, and seeking to drag the rest of the world back with me.

Is the growing popularity of blogging leading to the demise of the paper, or has the dissatisfaction with the paper led to the popularity of blogs? If journalists really want to secure their jobs, they might do well to seek out answers to a declining readership beyond the immediate scapegoat of blogs.

Image source

Related Tags: , , ,