Why I Trust Blogs
The state of journalism today frustrates me. Because of the influence of gossip media and the sales of exploitative articles, traditional news sources are becoming increasingly inflammatory. When internet advertisers are paying by page views, news websites write the most incendiary headline possible so that it will attract attention. Headlines always seem either exceedingly aggravating or tremendously tragic.
Media companies have one purpose. That purpose is to make money. That gives them no master. That leaves them with no coherent point of view. They will type whatever is necessary to make money regardless of the truth. Sure, Fox News and MSNBC do things to cater to their audience. Sure, CNN has suffered from trying to stay in the middle and they have started over the last few years becoming more exploitative.
It just seems to me that the bigger you get as a company, the more you have to lose. When large companies have bills to pay, they have to work for their money. With that power, they also have better access to information and a larger audience, but in today’s modern age, access to information is no longer exclusive. Politicians, celebrities, athletes, musicians, etc. all voice their opinions on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. An interview session with 20 media members streamed in real time on the internet. The best parts are tweeted by the interviewers. Music stores and book stores learned in the last decade that when you’re in the information selling business you can be damaged by how readily available it is on the internet.
Media companies need to learn they are no different. They are in the business of selling information. My generation and the generations that follow will want news sources that take the vast amount of news available online and present to us what is pertinent to our lives. We want news sources that are readily digestible. We want to be informed and not left in the dark due to lack of transparency.
When you follow trends, you eventually die. It’s been a hard lesson learned by other purveyors of information. The demise of newspapers and magazines should have been a siren call for the major media companies to adjust, but they’re failing again.
When I read a blog, I understand that generally speaking the writer has his own point of view. All his posts are consistent from his perspective. If it is a group blog, I generally accept that these are like minded individuals sharing a medium together. There’s consistency in the deliverer of the message and consistency in the messages’ point of view. Traditional media has become a prostitute who will do anything if the money is right. They are only limited by the cost.
Bloggers are more involved with their audience. They know the page views, they read the comments, and they know their audience can leave their easier than people can remove Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN from their television. Successful blogs have to temper their most extreme views as to not alienate their audience. They don’t have the ubiquitous-ness of large media companies with captive audiences.
Sure, there are blogs on the extreme end, but their purpose is to entertain their audience (see: Perez Hilton). While blogs who are out to educate their audiences, have to show temperance in their views and provide a mechanism for multiple points of view to be heard or a mechanism to respond. The Consumerist comes to mind in which they give the companies being criticized by submitters a chance for rebuttal.
I think that approach is far more fair and balanced.