Oh good. Newspapers and blogs are finally getting along. Or so says
the LA Times
Sure, newspapers still talk behind blogs' back, dismissing their whiny opinions and misinformation, but they know that they can drive in the revenue as well as anyone, so they're willing to post and plug them.
There may be nothing sacred left in the eyes of newspaper purists, but then again, this is online media
, and nothing is truly sacred anymore. "Any new information source is a potential competitor to a local newspaper. Smart newspapers are figuring out they don't have to fight with those competitors -- they can make alliances with them," said Robert Niles, editor of the Online Journalism Review.Figuring out how to monetize content
is just the start. Newspapers like the Washington Post
and the Houston Chronicle
are expanding coverage and offering up blogs written by staff and readers.
These alliances boost ad revenue and increase readership. However, it's also making people nervous. What with posts that aren't edited or fact-checked, some worry that the principles of solid reporting have fallen to the wayside, even if federal law "generally protects a website owner from postings by its users."
Though newspapers maintain that they're only adding
blogs to their content offerings, not replacing
traditional reporting, it's clear that "newspapers can't afford to think about distributing information the way they used to."
The New York Times
has successfully integrated blogs into mainstream offerings. Freakonomics, a blog about economic thinking in everyday situations, is featured prominently on the New York Times
site, and its authors share the ad revenue.
Now that the blog is more readily available than before (when readers could only access it from its original site) money is being made much more handily, which has helped to fund a full-time editor and filmmaker for the blog.
Yet despite newspapers' willingness to include blogs in the big picture, bloggers still don't garner as much pay or respect as traditional reporters.
Nonetheless, an "online journalist" would be a fool to let that stand in his or her way. "Teaming up with a newspaper is a way to establish credibility," says Dave Panos, the CEO of Pluck, a company that distributes blog content to a handful of newspaper sites through a service called BlogBurst.
Nothing like shared exploitation to keep all parties happy.