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Why the blogosphere is a threat to US, but not to UK news outlets 5/28/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Blogosphere.
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Adrian Monck outlines the anonymous comments of a British news exec, who showed a telling lack of concern about the blogosphere, either as a threat or a possible source of content. In fact, he claimed UK papers already pretty much owned the area of opinion and had the best blogs. That’s a stark contrast from this side of the pond, where newspapers seem to fear, resent, and/or be defensive about bloggers. In fact, as Monck notes, the Washington Post has deals with 3 blogs to supply material.

What is happening is that American journalism created a problem for itself decades ago that will continue to threaten its existence until it ends its self-defeating ways. It decided that issues of public policy were a science, and journalists were like laboratory workers on a mission to deliver singular, objective truths. They began to treat opinion as a contaminant, and in the process lost the ability to handle it properly. That never happened in the UK, where London papers collectively continue to offer, unashamedly, a full spectrum of alternative political voices.

The Internet has caught American journalism flat-footed. Suddenly, there is a huge demand for opinion, and a newly resentful public realizing they have been deprived of it, if not lied to — that there is no such thing as an objective, right-down-the-middle way to look at things, and even if there were it would not be particularly helpful in a country purportedly driven by the will of the people. So while London’s Guardian is now publicly and brazenly declaring its goal to become “the leading global liberal voice,” US papers can only respond “huh?”, “they can’t do that”, and “we’re better than that.” But ultimately it will be what audiences think that will matter, and I suspect in this revolution Americans will side with the British.

Comments»

1. Adrian Monck - 5/29/08

You’re spot on Steve. Although the Murdoch/Thomson WSJ may yet move into that space. The problem is though that cultural change of that kind will require a wholesale restocking of US newsrooms.

I admire the US journalism tradition, but if it doesn’t want to end up as Exhibit A in the Newseum, it needs to move the way you suggest.

2. Media across the Atlantic not sweating blogs | Impatient Sufferance | Let facts be submitted to a candid world - 5/29/08

[…] Boriss hits on a whole lot of truth in his latest post. The lede is that while U.S. media outlets continue to be threatened by the […]

3. Links for 2008-05-29 | Impatient Sufferance | Let facts be submitted to a candid world - 5/29/08

[…] Why the blogosphere is a threat to US, but not to UK news outlets « The Future of News (tags: Media) […]

4. Noah Simon - 6/3/08

well not quite. American Blogging is “conservative” oriented for the most part, but the online “blue state twitteratti elitists” try hard to pretend it doesn’t exist. It isn’t that there isn’t a “Blog world” in America, it is just that the “Blog world” is a little bit less mainstream and not good PR. Our Blogs are our “dirty undies” and if you like the smell of it then you will see it is out there. Perhaps the world might learn a little about why America is going to vote for McCain and not Obama if you do a little research online about “American” opinions. Sure… the “New York Times” is in the dark, but so are most of the Alisters online like Robert Scoble and Chris Brogran.


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