‘Can the MSM afford to ignore blogging?’

Well, that was the title given to my presentation. I’ve got some catching up with respect to posting.

The quick upsum of my presentation is that most MSM (mainstream media) blogging efforts suck. We’re guilty of engaging in thoughtless herd-like activity.

We flocked to blog because a lot of people were. We thought it was just about publishing snarky little commentary in reverse chronological order.

Bob Cauthorn over at Rebuilding Media had a great post on this last year: Memo to mainstream media: You don’t get to blog.

I play this great clip from the Daily Show taking the piss out of CNN and MSNBC jumping on the blogwagon.

Cory Bergman of Lost Remote looked beyond the humour and gives some excellent suggestions of what the MSM should be doing with blogs. (Scroll down to the ‘See why blogs make bad TV’. The direct link doesn’t work.

But what Cory says:

Putting a blogger on the air or even adding an anchor blog on the web is just scratching the surface, and in some cases, counterproductive. The real goal is institutionalizing the blogging philosophy throughout the news organization, and that may not even involve a blog. How can we open up? Be more accountable?

My view is that the challenge and opportunities for the MSM are much more cultural than technical when it comes to either blogging ourselves or engaging with bloggers.

From a technical standpoint, blogs are just simple, light and powerful content management systems with an emphasis on cross linking and the ability to comment.

And there is absolutely no compelling reason for a journalist to put their content in a blog format just to put their content in a blog format. Why would we chop up content we already produce and put it in reverse chronological order?

There are compelling reasons for journalists (not the citizen variety but us old school sorts) to use blogs: 1) Open up and have a conversation with our audience 2) reinvigorate the immediacy of our journalism.

The programme that I work for, World Have Your Say, on the BBC World Service just launched a blog on Wednesday.

We did it because we are trying to be a new kind of radio programme, not just a call in, but an interactive radio programme where our debates are inspired by the conversations our global audiences are having about news and current affairs, then start online and grow on air.

It’s not just about us using a blog to push more content at our audiences but to engage in a conversation with our audiences.

And I really think that blogs could be used for radically fresh and live reporting. But we in the MSM, by and large, aren’t doing it.

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