Blogging and mainstream media: the clash has already started

One of the top daily newspapers in the country, The Boston Globe, is on track to lose $85 million this year and its owner, the New York Times Co., is threatening to shut down the 137-year-old paper unless workers agree to pay cuts by the end of the month.

This quote from NPR.org is a very telling report on the state of mainstream media these days.  Whatever your opinion of the Boston Globe (progressive, liberal, etc...), a giant of newspapers in this country could fall.  Those who simply scratch the surface and don't give this due diligence will proclaim the current state of the economy to be the nemesis, the architect of the Globe's demise.  That's doing a disservice to their readership.

The real issue at hand is not so simplistic as Wall Street sucking our tax dollars into their accounts to keep them afloat.  No, the real issue is HOW people are now getting their information and, probably more important, HOW they like to interact with others.  Paper-based media is a) too slow and b) one way, for the most part.  By the time the paper is at your doorstep, the news is old, many hours old.  And what if you disagree with what's reported?  Maybe you can send a letter to the paper's editorial section and if they like it, it gets printed.  Forget it if your grammar's not perfect.   Sloooowwwwww.

Online is the present and future of information dissemination.  Period.  We all have computers and little devices that let us take our news everywhere we go.  Reporters are online during press conferences, providing live updates as folks are speaking.  Yes, I grew up in the age when you read a newspaper or a book in print and I LIKE the feel of turning pages, but times they are a changing and the "mainstream" world better wake up.  A newspaper you hold?  That's sooooo five minutes ago.

Many, if not all, papers are online now.  They have to be.  But I still get the feeling they don't get it.  Well, some do.  If you haven't found out already, I'm a HUGE fan of Mike Reiss, Patriots sportswriter for the Boston Globe.  His Reiss's Pieces is one of the most linked to and quoted sources on this blog.  Why?  Because Mike gets it.  Not only does he provide information quicker than anyone I know, but he provides thoughtful analysis, based on experience and access, and not heavy handed opinion, something that makes his work extremely quotable.  Us bloggers can provide the opinion. ;-)  An example: during Spygate, Reiss was at one of the pressers where Commissioner Goodell was about to speak.  Mike would start his blog entries with the time and a quick sentence: "2:12PM Goodell arrives at the podium."  I really felt as "there" as I was going to get.  Later, Mike wrote a longer story providing his thoughts and analysis.  That's the future of reporting.

I happened to catch the NPR report, referenced above, on the radio.  This particular report was chock full of "credentialed" media types talking about a world without the Boston Globe.  Everytime they came to the subject of blogging, they spat the word out like they'd just tasted something vile, as if they'd just eaten a habanero.  At first, I took offense.  As a blogger, I don't feel what I crank out is worthless drivel (you, on the other hand, may have a different opinion ;-)).  There's many fine folks on this blog who enjoy reading what Pats Pulpit has to provide and we thank you for it.  At the very least, you consider it one of many information sources and that's the way it should be.

I took mild offense until I realized they just don't get it.  Credentialed or not, blogging allows EVERYONE to have a say.  I may post a story, but it doesn't end there.  My hope is that members of this online community will critique and comment on what they see, adding their intelligence and experience to the discussion.  Blogging CREATES living documents.  The original story is merely the introduction; the comments are what gives life to a post.  This is the part that I enjoy the most: learning from all of the smart folks out there.  And there's a lot of you.  I'm blown away every day by the level of knowledge from commentors and contributors on this blog.

Immediate access to information and the ability to be heard are what's important in this electronic age.  Facebook, twitter, youtube... there's no end to the different ways we all get connected to each other.  Madame Mainstream Media better wakeup; the line is blurring.  Pretty soon, us "bloggers" will be credentialed, sitting in the media booths at Gillette Stadium.  I'm sorry Mr. Reporter, did you just choke on a Habanero?

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