Peter Reavy

Big Media blogs

Posted in internet by Peter Reavy on December 6, 2007

Brian Micklethwait and Guido Fawkes discuss the rise of the Big Media blogs. Blogs at online versions of old media institutions like TV stations, magazines and newspapers. In particular, they speculate that such blogs will not prove economically viable.

I wasn’t aware that bloggers on the Spectator or the BBC or Sky were specifically paid for their blogs, over and above the other journalism or broadcasting they do.

Anyway, I can’t accept Brian’s idea that the penny will eventually drop with newspaper and magazine proprietors and the plug will be pulled on their paid bloggers.

Papers have always lost money and as for TV, the BBC and Sky are hell-bent on interactivity and their blogs must be a relatively cheap way to provide this.

Guido must be rather worried at big media moving on to his turf and he’s right to be.

Speaking personally, I’ve been surprised in 2007 at how my blog-reading has shifted away from the amateurs with an agenda I was reading before, and shifted towards the more objective and fact-checked blogs written by old-school journalists.

Alongside this there has been a growth in free newspaper content this year. More free stuff, and more hard facts to be had for nothing. It tends to push opinion-making further into the background.

The notion of the blogger as “citizen journalist” which circulated a few years back has never developed into anything concrete.

Blogging hasn’t developed the way most of us expected.

Very few important stories have been broken by blogs; they have caught the old media out on very few important issues; they haven’t had as much political impact as we might have thought.

There certainly is a sense of debate opening up due to the internet, but a lot of it is happening in the comments sections of sites run by old-fashioned media. Until a new way of compiling individual opinions arises, then unfortunately the BBC’s Have Your Say and the old media blogs’ comments boxes will rule the roost.

I feel less interested in the blogs I once read. At the end of 2007, it is Samizdata and Guido whose fixed agendas look out of touch rather than the Economist or Nick Robinson who they constantly swing at.

The old media was slow to adapt to the new world, but has now done so more successfully than anyone expected.

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