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Newspaper Versus Blog

| March 09, 2009, 06:00 AM | 6 Comments

blogosphere2There was an interesting editorial in Sunday’s Capital newspaper discussing the demise of the traditional newspaper. Tom Marquardt, the Editor, suggested that The Capital might shift it’s online version to a site that offers free content as well as premium content for a fee.

It will never work. If they were looking to have a subscriber based website, they needed to do it when HometownAnnapolis.com first came online. As he noted, the Wall Street Journal is purely subscription based and very successful. Tom also criticized the blogosphere and opined that he felt there was no way for them to cover news like a newspaper could.

If you take away those Web sites, the community is left with bloggers who are limited in what they can cover. One blogger can’t cover the same ground as a dozen reporters.

Tom, where have you been? I agree that one blogger cannot cover the same ground as a dozen reporters. One reporter can’t either. But as for bloggers doing what you do only better, I think you are woefully misconstrued. I believe it was Capital Punishment (get the pun?) that broke the story about the Annapolis City Attorney that was not certified to practice law. I believe it was The Arundel Muckraker that broke the story on the sweetheart consulting deals for friends of the Mayor. Did the Capital’s Editor miss the entire last election? The blogosphere has been breaking stories left and right and are only getting stronger each day. Here is a good column on the state of the “news” industry.

Here is where a blogger will excel. They are not restricted to deadlines. Their deadlines are when the news is happening and they can file stories by cell phone if needed. They are not slaves to the AP Stylebook and are able to write more casual and opinionated stories. These stories will make a much deeper connection with the reader (either pro or con) than a newspaper ever could. Importantly, the bogosphere is a community project. The content is directed by those that read it, not someone who feels this is what you should read. There is a subtle difference.  And finally, the blogosphere offers the reader the ability to comment. Blogger’s readers are not restricted to snail or e-mailing in letters to the editor in hopes that someone will decide that their opinion is of value–and comments are not limited to 200 words or less.

So, while you say one blogger cannot do the work of a dozen reporters, I do suggest that a dozen bloggers can do the work of a dozen reporters.   The blogosphere has many economic advantages over traditional publications. Time will tell.

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Category: OPINION

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Me says:

    What’s your point? You and others like you seem to be cheering for the demise of newspapers, in an attempt to anoint your site as “the answer.” That’s fine, but you can’t lose sight of the fact that except for the occasional story that a blog may break, and certainly web sites have broken their share of stories, newspapers are breaking news each and every day.
    This is not to undermine bloggers. It’s awesome to have lots of voices out there running around trying to cover things that slip through the cracks. But stop fooling yourself that the demise of newspapers should accelerate and things will be all right because there’s bloggers out there. Plus, if you were to gain the strength of a newspaper and have a decent sized staff to cover things more adequately, wouldnt you be the equivalent of…. a newspaper?

  2. JWF says:

    I am certainly not cheering for the demise of the newspaper. Frankly I enjoy reading a paper. However, it cannot be disputed that the newspapers (in general) have not changed with the times. And for a lot of them, they are in a terrible bind. Philly has their only two papers in bankruptcy, the Tribune (owner of the Sun) is in bankruptcy, the Seattle P-I is likely to cease printing soon, and one of the two Phoenix (?) papers just printed their last issue.

    Playing catch up may work, but I think it is naive for a paper to feel “superior” to other means. There is obviously a happy medium to be had from every perspective, but simply ignoring alternate news and entertainment sources is likely not the way to achieve it.

  3. Eye Spy says:

    IN a timely article, Time magazine has a story on the newspaper decline and the ten papers likely to fold or go completely digital.

  4. Sadly the writing is on the wall and it’s written in neon pink spray paint, it can’t be ignored. Newspapers as a format are dying and if the business fail to retool and make drastic changes, not only the format, but the entire business will soon be gone the way of the dodo.

    There really isn’t much more to be said. This has been repeated time and time again, and with each passing day, we receive stronger evidence to support the notion.

    On certain talk forum sites, there are some who choose to repeatedly bash bloggers and accuse them of not being real news. Kinda funny, and out of work reporter and out of business paper isn’t much news either, except maybe….yesterdays news.

    A.F. James MacArthur

    Managing Editor
    The Baltimore Spectator

    A.F. James MacArthur’s last blog post..BREAKING: Tragedy Strikes The Spectator Family

  5. Simonn says:

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