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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

BLOG, blogs vs. traditional media

Sun-Times (Doug Elfman) gets credit for being the catalyst to this post.

If you read Proviso Probe, you are undermining the rightful order of the country. You get your news through blogs and that's a threat to the people who feel it is their prerogative to provide your news.

You think I'm joking?

Please! I may try to be sarcastic, but have I made any serious attempts at humor on Proviso Probe?

Here's what I understand of the conflict at the national level.

What blogs (Left of the mushy middle) say about traditional media:

1. The traditional media is too cozy with people in power. The media people who control the big newspapers and broadcast outlets go to the same cocktail parties as the people with government power. The media people are in a cocoon.
2. The traditional media does inadequate investigative reporting.
3. The media has not held itself accountable for being wrong about the Iraq War and generally allowing the Bush administration to bamboozle its policies through.

What traditional media says about blogs:

1. There's no quality control.
2. Blogs undermine journalism by reducing revenue for newspapers when readers cancel subscriptions.
3. Blogs don't produce original content.
4. Bloggers are rude.

Rather than reproduce a national debate that other people have had more articulately, perhaps it would be good to delve into the local affects of blogging.

I am proud of the reporting and analysis I've done on Proviso Probe. I think the interactive nature of blogging has provided something people wanted. I don't think I have an antagonistic relationship with any of the newspapers.

To exist in its current form Proviso Probe needs Pioneer Press and Forest Park Review.

I should ask around, but I don't think Proviso Probe hurts circulation of any of the local newspapers.

Why do the big blogs hurt traditional media outlets, like Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post, but little blogs don't hurt Pioneer Press or Forest Park Review?

Here's my theory: Forest Parkers think the Forest Park Review is a quality product that covers the news the audience expects to have covered. Pioneer Press is the same way. If the Chicago Tribune Company or the Washington Post bothered to ask their readers if they were doing a good job, much of the audience would express the sentiment they are (or were) waiting to defect to something better.

So the big media outlets can whine-and-whine. With the caveat that I reject a certain amount of free market ideology, big media is suffering from the consequences of competition. Media outlets that continue to do a good job will thrive in a more competitive environment.

When the Pioneer Press or Forest Park Review break a story, it doesn't hurt Proviso Probe. Conversely, when Proviso Probe breaks a story, it doesn't hurt FPR or Pioneer Press. It's all good for the community. It wouldn't hurt any of the local outlets for Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times or Defender to break or cover stories in Proviso Township.

But the market for what Chicago Tribune provides is decreasing as consumers find they have options. Chicago Tribune has always cheered liberalization of international trade. Chicagoans losing jobs as manufacturing moved elsewhere served the greater good because consumers were getting what they wanted.

Surely, owners, executives and editorial leaders that cheered as "efficiency" put others out of work would face losing market share with a stiff upper lip, right?

For some of the more articulate discussions of the national issues see Billmon and Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo). Austin Mayor had an entry I thought was worthwhile.

2 Comments:

  • It is quite the non sequitur to accuse the Tribune of hypocracy vis-a-vis opinions expressed in the Sun Times. The Tribune has actually embraced blogs. The have Xorn, the Swamp, and food/hobby/entertainement blogs (that I don't know by name). Superficial analysis such as this is part of what is wrong about blogs.

    By Blogger Roy, at 5:09 PM, May 09, 2006  

  • I like this analysis...

    By Anonymous cynthia, at 4:25 PM, May 10, 2006  

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