Journalist Blogger

Monday, May 22, 2006

Blog Maverick

So when I saw a link to comments by wacky Mark Cuban, the nut who owns the appropriately-named Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team, expounding on his blog about why the traditional media just doesn't get the Internet, I was pretty skeptical.

But then I read the post. And it was pretty interesting.

In essence, Cuban says the traditional media's problem with the Net is that we journalists view the world through our old media constraints. But out in the blogosphere, they're still making up the rules as they go along. The freedom of experimentation is part of what makes it great. Some of the old rules help us. They give us credibility and inspire confidence in our readers. But the tradeoff is MSM Net ventures, including blogs, can be less dynamic. Sticking always to all of the old methods can have a dulling effect.

I think of this whenever I see MSM organizations launching their first blogs. How often do they say the new blog posts will be "held to the same standards of stories in the newspaper." I just want to scream "but they're not stories in a newspaper! They're different! They should have they're own standards!"

On the other hand, Cuban came back with a second post praising the MSM! In this case, Cuban points out that after a Mavericks game, the one place to get rich, interesting coverage the next day is not on the blogs, but in the MSM — on sites like ESPN.com and especialy on the Dallas Morning News website. He especially praises the Morning News for it's intensely LOCAL angles.

And those are the advantages we in the MSM have. We can go in depth. Our stuff is compelling. And we know our local scene like nobody's business.

The trick is maintaining those advantages of our traditional approach while being flexible enough to experiment with new ideas.

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