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Bloggers as Parasites

Robert Niles, asking rhetorically if blogs are a ‘parasitic’ medium, calls such charges

poorly informed insult of many hard-working Web publishers who are doing fresh, informative and original work. And by dismissing blogs as “parasitic,” newspaper journalists make themselves blind to the opportunities that blogging, as well as independent Web publishing in general, offer to both the newspaper industry and newspaper journalists.

It’s odd to see the continuing backlash from traditional journalism organizations, even as a few of them — and many more to come — start actually bringing their audiences into the process.

For the record, there are at least a dozen bloggers whose coverage of topics I care about do a considerably better job than any journalist working for a traditional media company.

7 Comments on “Bloggers as Parasites”

  1. #1 David Smydra
    on Mar 2nd, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Dan — I don’t know if you’d be willing to lay them out there or not, but I’d be really interested in seeing your list of those dozen bloggers who do a better job than traditional media companies. This isn’t a challenge: I’d just love to see the list. Thanks!

  2. #2 Karl
    on Mar 2nd, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    I would too – because we need to get word out whenever original reporting takes place. In particular – outside of technology.

  3. #3 Trends in the Living Networks
    on Mar 2nd, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Blogs, media, parasitism, and symbiosis…

    This issue has been discussed before and I’ve written about it several times, though it doesn’t seem to go away. Robert Niles, editor of Online Journalism Review, has written a very interesting post titled Are blogs a ‘parastic’ medium? He……

  4. #4 Brigitte N.
    on Mar 4th, 2007 at 8:19 am

    This is the way I see it: There are those blogs that actually gather and break news and there are probably more that open or continue conversations about news that the MSM have first reported. Either way–bloggers can contribute a great deal to mass-mediated citizen debate and that is certainly better than leaving it to the pretty uniformed, infotainment oriented MSM–especially television.
    To be sure, many blogs resemble supermarket tabloid-style stuff–but, thankfully, there are enough that contribute to serious public debate and allow regular citizens to participate–not only the handful of talking heads that dominate the MSM ‘s selection of pundits.
    If I have one problem: blogs that are promoted by MSM and leading bloggers tend to be those of people in the MSM or represented there.
    With that said–I enjoy blogging on my own site (reflectivepundit) on media, terrorism/counterterrorism/and politics/policies in other areas.

  5. #5 Dan Gillmor
    on Mar 4th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    David, Karl,

    OK, I’ll list them in another posting, in a couple of days.

  6. #6 Ron Burkhardt
    on Mar 5th, 2007 at 7:23 am

    Of course blogs can be parasites – but that shouldn’t automatically be a negative thing. There are beneficial parasites – think of the remora (that fish that cleans the skin of sharks).

    The MSM provides CONTENT, and blogs can “feed” of off that to provide CONTEXT. Perpsective, personal impact, contraian viewpoints, discussion of bias and influence, etc.

    There are also plenty of times that news coming from blogs and forums becomes a jumping-off point for the mainstream sources, even if they’re not credited.

    There’d be something of interest as far as looking at the cultures and interactions of the two units. Blogs will never (in the near future) supplement “the press”, but they do complement them. And there’s certainly a usefullness to having a Fifth Estate (Fifth Column?) to keep an eye on the other four.

    Individual blogs rarely have the critical mass necessary to “break news”. Blogs are better viewed as OpEd pieces, where occasionally news happens. We have neither the access, presence, and singular voice necessary to break news, earn mass attention, and provide institutional cover to individuals making allegations against authorities, governments, and corporations, like a major newspaper would.

    Now, communities of “bloggers”, on the other hand, especially if given cover and legitimacy by some other party, could be a whole different thing all together….

  7. #7 Kasi-Blog » Blog Archive » Blogs: Tamagotchis or parasites?
    on Jun 23rd, 2007 at 6:39 am

    […] See as well: HowardOwens, SearchEngineWatch, Roughtype, FreeLanceDaily, OJR, DeepJiveInterests, Webomatica, TheGazette, Citmedia. […]