An interesting debate about the nature of blogging is developing: is it an “essentially derivative medium” and is it “media elitism” to say so? Shane Richmond, news editor of Telegraph.co.uk, joins the discussion with an examination of the relationship between blogging and MSM.
The debate started when Malcolm Gladwall, an author and New Yorker journalist asked a conference on the future of journalism: “Without the New York Times what would there be for bloggers to blog about?”
This brought a response from Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail, who wrote: “Nothing annoys me more than the oft-heard assertion within media circles that without us blogs would be nothing.”
He uses figures derived from Technorati so show that 300 times more bloggers use the word “I” than talk about what the New York Times has written. He also produces a table showing the BBC is the most blogged about MSM site in the world.
Richmond argues that MSM should embrace its new role as a source for bloggers, seeing it as a different way of continuing to provide the same service to the community. He examines a number of recent stories that have been influenced by bloggers and concludes:
We will have our readers for a long time yet. For as long as they exist, Telegraph readers will want to know what our view of the world is. Many of them will trust our view without question. Others will debate and deconstruct it in blogs, on messageboards and social editing sites.
But for a very large group, we will become just another voice among many. Another source to be used to construct, support or challenge their world view. They will share, edit and remix what we do in whatever way suits them best. We provide the raw material for their self-made media. They choose what matters, not us.
Sure it could be called derivative but it’s the most powerful force in media right now and Gladwell is underestimating it.
This is very much we way I see it.