Austin-based RSS comany Pluck has just released a demo of a new product called BlogBurst. Essentially a blog wire service, BlogBurst will syndicate content from “pre-approved” blogs to newspaper publishers who pay to opt in. A few forward-thinking newspapers including the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle and San Antonia Express-News have already signed up.
If successful, this intiative will demonstrate that newspapers are finally acknowledging the substantive, high-quality work being done by bloggers who don’t work for them and have decided that it is in their best interest to incorporate good blog content into their offerings. This is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious attempts thus far to facilitate cross-over and collaboration between traditional media organizations and the rapidly-expanding blogosphere. Their tag line: “Got a great blog? Get big-time exposure.”
Pluck may be aiming to become a kind of gatekeeper for the blogosphere, which raises a wide array of questions:
- To what extent will having one’s blog content selected by newspapers for syndication be considered a status marker, and how much value will bloggers place on being “validated” by mainstream media?
- How will newspaper editors choose and present the blog content they publish, and will this add value to newspapers’ financial models?
- Could this initiative be a major step in breaking down the walls between traditional journalism and the emerging sphere of citizen media?
BlogBurst has an open call for bloggers who want to add their blog to the BlogBurst network, enabling newspapers to browse and publish their content. They will also be sending invitations to blogs they hope will join.
We will be watching the progress of this experiment closely and with great interest . . .