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The Pro-Am debate

Posted on Friday, Mar 2nd 2007

And just as I wrote the Newspapers, Roll Up! piece, I read this one on Techmeme. Fascinating read.

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Are blogs a ‘parasitic’ medium?
Commentary: Could the blogosphere survive without the reporting provided by newspapers and TV networks? Online pros tackle the question.
By Robert Niles
Posted: 2007-03-02
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.

I hear the frustration behind the comment. You bust your rear to get stories in the paper, then watch bloggers grab traffic talking about your work. All the while your bosses are laying off other reporters, citing circulation declines, as analysts talk about newspapers losing audience to the Web. It’s not hard to understand why many newspaper journalists would come to view blogs as parasites, sucking the life from their newsrooms.

Still, the charge riles me every time I hear it. To me, it’s a poorly informed insult of many hard-working Web publishers who are doing fresh, informative and original work. And by dismissing blogs as “parasitic,” newspaper journalists make themselves blind to the opportunities that blogging, as well as independent Web publishing in general, offer to both the newspaper industry and newspaper journalists.

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It is this opportunity that I commented on, earlier today!

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