the more time i spent on my last blog entry, the more it became apparent i wanted to ask this question and see the comments to this blog, and inevitable commentary around the blogosphere and in traditional digital and analog media..
even a year ago, this would have seemed like a preposterous question.
Given the admitted rush job by Randall Stross for the Sunday NY Times Business column that I discussed in my last blog entry, along with my previous experiences with that paper, i dont think it is preposterous any longer.
Who has higher editorial and reporting standards. Your typical fulltime blogger, or the NY Times ?
Who puts more effort into researching their articles ?
Who conveys more depth ?
The NY Times is obviously feeling some financial pain and cutting back. Costs impact the amount of space they can provide for any article, or for all content as a whole. Bloggers do not have that limitation. I can write as many pages as i like.
The NY Times is limited by deadlines. They have to get to print and get the product out the door. Bloggers do not.
Costs and deadlines limit the amount of resources that can be applied to any given article for both bloggers and the NY Times. Who is more constrained as a result ?
The NY Times certainly has more feet on the street than any given blog, so should they do a better job of breaking news than a specific blog ? Or are there more blogger feet on the streeten total throughout the blogger universe for any given topic ?
Can a reader get a better understanding of the topics of the day, week, month in a given area by trusting the NY Times to present the news, or is it better ot do a search of news sources and the blogosphere for keywords, topics and tags on Icerocket.com and become your own aggregator on an ajax homepage like netvibes.com, goowy.com, my.yahoo , google.com or any other personal aggregation environment ?
Do my experiences reflect a bigger problem that newspapers like the NY Times are having, resulting in some of the financial hardships they are experiencing ? Or is it specific to the NY Times and at least their Sunday Business Section standards have fallen ? Or were my two experiences simply coincedence, and every other article in any given weekend is meticulous in research and execution ?
Given the comments that will be offered arent limited to those who write blogs, anyone from the newspaper industry can add their thoughts, im looking forward to reading the comments.
65 thoughts on “NYTimes Sunday Business or Bloggers. Who has higher standards ?”
Of course Blogger
Comment by Sodhi -
Comment by imdbcn -
Comment by Cool And Smart -
Remember when Dan Rather had to apologize about those presidential memos last year and it made headlines? I think that the New York Times is subject to similar scrutiny. When a blogger gets a story wrong, he might get a couple of comments, but nobody’s job is on the line in the blogging game.
Comment by runescape money -
When a blogger gets a story wrong, he might get a couple of comments, but nobody’s job is on the line in the blogging game. Millions of people look to the New York Times for accurate reporting and so there is more pressure to get the story right, and that incentive (usually) turns into results.
Comment by wow powerleveling -
RE: futureoffilm (#42)…
“the Times isn’t infallible. But it also proves that a mechanism for finding the truth does exist. The vast majority of blogs have no such mechanism.”
Now THERE is a “what was he smoking” comment for you!
Newsflash – this mechanism does exist. In fact, it exists in two places; and I’ve seen it consistently produce results very, very quickly:
 Most blogs are a two-way conversation, in that posts have atached comments. You’re in one now. If Mark says something factually incorrect about, say, the P2P industry, there are folks here with expert background knowledge who will call him on it very quickly. Over at my team blog Winds of Change.NET, we value that reader expertise and it does feed abck into our posts – including via annotated corrections.
Heck, some of the comments we get are better than the posts they’re attached to. We’ll highlight those with a link and note at the end of the article. Or make them Guest Blog features and give them the spotlight they’ve earned.
 It’s called other bloggers. What makes the blog traffic model work is the dense interconnection of linkage between them. This may come as a shock, but some of those folks tend to disagree. Their counter-arguments link to the stuff they disagree with, however, and often spawn other posts in turn elsewhere in the blogosphere. Meanwhile, people following those links are parachuting into your comments section and offering their two cents.
This structure plus the “Six Degrees” principle means that folks making consequential and widely-read arguments had better have their ducks in order. Because they’re going to be checked out and talked back to by folks who know a lot more about that subject than your average NY Times editor.
Blogs aren’t perfect. Nothing is. Their model, technology, and structure has miles to go before it sleeps the sleep of a mature industry. That’s all true.
What is demonstrably NOT true, is “futureoffilm’s” charge re: the blogosphere’s fact-checking mechanisms.
Comment by Joe Katzman -
The NYT is doing better than some newspapers:
However, something probably has to be different at the NYT in the future (vs. the past) before investing in the NYT:
Comment by nate -
Relative ***strength*** shown here ,,when compared to each teams 2004/2005 season .. and I also am doing a PAR = H/A for each division
this is the # of points each home game in nba was decided by
The number of home games won by home team by:
1 pt = 27
2. = 36
3. = 43
4. = 38
5. = 36
6. = 40
7. = 37
8. = 53
>=10. = 357
The number of games won by the visiting team by:
1 pt = 26
Comment by Ron D -
If I want to read what the NYTimes is going to write about, I can just go to the Democrat National Committe website and save time.
The NYTimes may dress it up, pretend it’s news on the front page while they editorialize, but in the end, they are attempting to elect more folks who think like them.
It’s a waste of my time.
But to the actual question, bloggers in general are more intelligent than the reporters at the time or the columnists at those sites. They have experience in the real world and bring common sense to their opinions. Powerline is a great example, how the NYTimes journalism degreed people are going to argue legal decisions with them is ridiculous. At best they can only parrot what someone else has told them.
You see their lack of depth in almost every issue they tackle. Only when they go into an in-depth multi-page analysis do they come close to the expertise that many bloggers bring to the table.
Comment by Danny -
The communication revolution brought on by the internet is completely changing the face of news, all for the better. It should be clear to anyone with warm brain cells that the old-guard media are primarily political entities. The idea that we’re supposed to take seriously the daily salvo thrown at George Bush by the NYT, and parroted by it’s mini me’s around the country seriously, is now obsolete. We now have many people, often with professional credentials far exceeding that of any newspaper hack, giving their take on current events. People aren’t stupid. If blogs are inaccurate, people will figure it out quickly and go to other more reliable sources. It’s the greatest thing that people now have thousands of sources for news and opinion, which could be one of the most significant revolutions of our time.
Comment by Ted I. -
Noise about fact-checking and agendas aside, if a blogger is well-read, there is a good chance that they’re an expert in a specialized area, and will have much more substantial knowledge and insight than a journalist who by nature will tend to be more of a generalist.
What mainstream journalists still have going for them is this: sources respond to them! When the Times or WaPo or Fox calls, this elicits a response much more readily than an email from joe blogger — even among the technologically saavy. Ahem.. So Forbes broke the latest news about Mr. Cuban’s proposed hedge fund, right? Wrong: http://riskmarkets.blogspot.com/ See “Know When To Hold ‘Em”…
Comment by Jason Ruspini -
Come on, be a sport and post something on Dal vs Lakers game. Dont know how many crzay posts u have deleted from the blog.
Comment by Ajay -
I don’t think you can in fact generalize whether “bloggers” vs. “journalists” have any more merits than the other. Bloggers and journalists both are people with agenda’s, bias, interests, knowledge (or lack thereof), etc. There is a temporing influence on the more popular blogs, like this one, because any outrageous statements get fairly immediate refutation, whereas newspapers seldom if ever publish contrary opinions without editorial input.
So while there are good bloggers and bad, and there are good journalists and bad (even at the NYT) the key difference is the media used and newspapers like so many old technologies are failing to meet their customer’s needs and will die away or realize they are not in the newpaper business but in the news and opinion business and shift their content to the proper media and let their opinion editors take their chances with the public on blogs with their advertisers in the margins. They could in fact just print the latest blogs in the paper with both sides and recover some of their jounalism ethics along the way….what a concept “fair and unbiased”.
Comment by Mike Oliver -
My trouble with your cinemas is not the projection technology; it’s the condition of the cinemas themselves. I’m not speaking of all your locations, merely the ones I’ve been to here in San Diego–La Jolla and Hillcrest. In La Jolla in particular, you are right next to UCSD and you could have a film mania there if the place was an appealing and groovy hang-out, and if you built an association with the school and with students. But management is indifferent to the school, and the cinemas are downright dumpy and depressing, below average even for mall standards. The carpet is vomitous, the bathrooms stink, the screens are small, the seating is average: it just does not make for an especially appealing night out, especially with a date. In fact, the AMC across the way, with its mainstream flicks, creates a way juicier vibe–and gets way more students. OK, perhaps you don’t see the return to creating a La Jolla Angelica–but if the Landmark is meant to fill the low cost “alternative” niche, as opposed to the glittery one, you guys should bring it with a lot more vehemence–create a vibe that is a lot more edgy, and get a rep in the community for being THE center for rad films. Instead, what you feature is a weird mix–a few good flicks mixed with way too much Foo Foo–in a run-down tired-feeling multiplex. Curiously, in the same mall, there is a Whole Foods, whose concept is food as theater. It gets way more people than your cinema! Hey, ever think of doing theater as theater?
Comment by Daniel Kwiat -
I think it’s more of an ethical question…the NYTimes is expected to uphold an image of integrity through its content by projecting truthful information to a trusting public. The Times, as a business institution, is legally responsible for backing articles that are printed and must endure any negative repercussions.
Bloggers have not yet received this degree of respect, whether or not their content is factual or more informative than a newspaper article. Yes, I believe the blogging regime will rise. Then again, do you believe everything that I, a 21-year-old college student, say? Or do you believe a 35-year-old Times reporter who is too lazy to get the facts? Bottom line: For the majority of the public, hard news prevails for now…even if a reporter slacks off on the job.
Comment by Kristin Todd -
I believe strongly that the blogosphere ultimately has more potential for truth than traditional media. Both traditional media and the blogosphere will always report news with a level of spin–it can’t be avoided. But with a blog, the mechanism is provided for anyone to voice their opinion through a comment (such as this one). It is the ultimate system of checks and balances, freedom of speech, and the democratization of media.
Blogs are slowly becoming more accepted vehicles of valuable information–not just random thoughts and opinions. I believe the future of news and the media will rely more and more on the blog system. This is why I am involved in the business I am involved in (www.KnowMoreMedia.com).
Comment by Dan Smith -
I think that blogs are so popular because they give the average person an opportunity to give their opinion, to the “world”, even when nobody cares to hear it. How often does one get to give their opinion, when they are just a regular person?
But…I would think that the NY Times would be staffed by people who are professional writers, and in addition, possibly people with journalism degrees, etc. so that should be an edge, you would think.
I’m not sure what a full time blogger is, but I have seen alot of amateur blogs, and some are facinating, some are not. Whether or not they are well researched depends upon the person who is writing the blog. I guess what gives a blog the edge, is that it can be updated quickly, and that is how news happens, sometimes.
This made me think of NOLA after the hurricane, and how useful that online link was. Helpful to many people, and widely read.
It is interesting to do a search on a blog topic, and get the average personal blog’s take on the subject. You ask yourself, is it just me who finds a particular news event something that concerns me?
Then you do a search, and find that alot of other people have the same worries regarding the meaning of that specific news event. They are giving you their emotional reaction, but maybe not a well researched response.
So, I guess as in all things it depends…
Comment by D. Haake -
Bloggers obviously provide a service that people want: Instantaneous information on a variety of topics. Papers like the Times are always going to have difficulty meeting the capabilities of a network of people that large.
I think the issue that some have with Bloggers is the quality of the information. Whereas in your blog you do a good job researching and laying out your information, there are other Bloggers that do not, rather spewing personal rhetoric as fact with little to back up their claim. This will always reduce the credibility of all Bloggers, and leave “real” news outlets to be the mainstay of credible information, or at least to be viewed that way by the majority of the American public.
That said, you and I both know such outlets are less than credible at times, and have motives that could be at the least described as biased. The Times is out to sell something, and the need to provide enticing material tends to lead to sensationalist claims. The problem is, where are the checks and balances? In a culture like ours, everyone is free to say what they want, and it is up to the reader to figure out what they want to believe/disbelieve. No article published(Blog or otherwise) includes research and/or format time spent in the submission. The reader is left to make their own determinations based on what they see. I think that with some basic critque, the average reader can determine such things.
Comment by Drew VanderPloeg -
Mark’s experience with the NYT is, unfortunately, the rule rather than the exception. Reporters everywhere, from the NYT to your hometown paper, are spread too thin. Many often have too little time to do an adequate job of researching, interviewing and writing. They simply have too many beats to cover, too many stories to file. Another factor is job cuts — widely publicized of late at bigger papers, but quietly going on for some time at smaller papers. Newsgathering is expensive, and media companies must keep up their unusually high profit margins. Savvy is expensive, too. Why keep a veteran, knowledgeable hand when you can hire someone less experienced for half that? That leaves you with the kinds of reporters who contact key sources for rush interviews, then write the kind of story Mark was unhappy with.
Comment by Jeff -
And speaking of content release along with theater release… it’s already happening on cell phone video also. “…cell carrier Hutchinson (aka 3 in other parts of Europe) won the right in Italy to legally air films acquired from Eagle Pictures after a meager ten day release window — meaning if you’re an Italian Hutchinson 3G customer, you could realistically and legitimately watch Memoirs of a Geisha on your phone as early as December 27th.” (From http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000913073290/)
Comment by Bob Russell -
I think it’s all about motives. NYTimes authors are trying to either get attention or make a point(regardless of the actual facts, unfortunately) just like a lot of bloggers do. What is a shame is that we used to think of mainstream media and ethical reporting as holding themselves to high standards. We now see that it’s no different than bloggers.
Comment by Bob Russell -
I think it is helpful to analyze the MSM vs. Blogosphere issue in terms of four dimensions. 1) Speed (get it fast) 2) Accuracy (get it right) 3) Context (get it in proportion and balance with other events) and 4) deliver it at a fair Price (hey this is the real world and we all have to eat). The current state of the MSM is that they get it fast and get paid to do it. Accuracy and context are sacrificed to meet deadlines and deal with advertisers. Blogs do much better on context and accuracy if they are sometimes less than stellar at breaking stories. Obviously there are some counter-examples -e.g. the TANG documents/CBS imbroglio and the Swift Boat Vets come to mind in terms of breaking news that was ignored by the MSM. It will be interesting to follow the Pajamas Media model and see if the Blogosphere can add another dimension (price) so as to make the industry sustainable. Right now its a hobby for many.
Comment by RKV -
“you’re comparing apples and oranges. Your blog is an opinion. You can say what you want and claim it to be true. A NYT reporter has to go though fact checkers and editors…”
spare me — the NYT is wrong all the time.
NYT is like any business – they’re after the bottom line and that’s that.
When a former professor of mine – Jacques Derrida, the french philosopher – passed away earlier this year, the NYT disparaged him and his work by printing false information in his obituary.
You think the Jason Blair incident is an aberration from the norm?
Comment by catablast! media group -
I’ve got to hand it to you. You’ve deftly spun this away from the article’s point (is Mark Cuban good or bad for Landmark Theatres?) towards something more up your alley (are blogs better than traditional media?)
Unfortunately, you’re comparing apples and oranges. Your blog is an opinion. You can say what you want and claim it to be true. A NYT reporter has to go though fact checkers and editors. The paper is then held up to review by its ombudsman and its peers. The Jason Blair and Judy Miller incidents prove that the Times isn’t infallible. But it also proves that a mechanism for finding the truth does exist. The vast majority of blogs have no such mechanism.
I know it’s fashionable for the posters here to follow the Cuban line: new is better than old, digital is better than analog, and anyone who disagrees with Cuban is an old school dinosaur who “just doesn’t get it”. But blogs like yours have no proven record of accuracy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but until blogs fall under the same standards of scrutiny as traditional media, people will continue to be wary of accepting them as gospel truth.
Comment by futureoffilm -
If you write libelous slander on your blog (or I do on mine) against some person, company, or institution, will you get the same legal attention that say the NYT or Chicago Tribune or Washington Post would for a like offense? I think the answer is still “no” and that for now the newspaper medium is still held to a higher overall standard than the blogging medium, where one can still get away with posting that which would get one fired and in court were it to appear in a newspaper and where the verification of sources and similar newsprint practices still exist where none do in the blogging world.
I would summarize (or generalize) by saying that bloggers are all columnists while newspapers have(fewer now, I admit) journalists.
My 2c…Go Bulls (and Mavs when not playing the Bulls)!
Comment by jeffh -
Mark, Having been to New York quite a few times in my gambling ,speculating ,and trading career. I made it to the New York Times building itself once, and after using the john, thought it quite ironic that the scribblings on the wall next to the commode had more pertinent unsensationalized facts than the their newspaper has in a week.
Comment by Ron D -
You will find better in-depth content on blogs, because… whatever it is that you are into, a million other people are into it as well. Just do a search.
– Newspapers almost always have an outsiders perspective. And an ignorant outsiders perspective at that.
Comment by penxv -
A small addendum that arrived after I posted this entry – but I find too appropriate to not include- is this quote from Winston Churchill – “There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion.”
Comment by M. T. Powers -
Having read the NYT article as well as your ‘blog’ entry – it is obvious that you (Mr. Cuban) were blindsided .
To be completely non-biased is to have no motivation to report the news except to provide the reader with sufficient information as to allow them to draw their own conclusions. This was the approach of many newspapers – until men discovered that the presentation of the news gave them power – witness the unofficial biography of William Randolph Hearst – Citizen Kane.
I doubt there is a news organization left anywhere that can stand free of all agendas. Even the ‘blogs’ have agendas(!) – though not as motivated by circulation, subscription, and advertisers – there is still an underlying reason for each to exist.
Possibly when we reach a point in which the information is gleamed ‘raw’ and then presented from multiple perspectives such as a ‘wiki’ – only retaining the original intact – then though ‘tainted’ by each presentation the ‘core’ will remain.
Until such a collective information vortex becomes readily available – many of us will continue to read multiple newspapers and those individuals providing the ‘copy’ will endeavor to distribute the same interview to a multitude newspapers each preferably representing a different agenda (a suggestion – make sure each interview is also a press release – even if just on your blog site – such precautions help to insure proper quotation and presentation).
Comment by M. T. Powers -
The House has passed a bill to convert all broadcasting to digital. Very interesting.
Comment by Darryl Williams -
I have not had any experience with the NYT, but every time I have had direct knowledge of the events behind a newspaper article, I have noticed at least a few errors. I think bloggers have two advantages over traditional media: 1) most bloggers blog about subjects they are knowledgable about, and 2) they can post addendums as updates come in.
Comment by Graham -
This blog is more insightful than most NYT articles. That comment PJM made about bloggers being outsiders IS terrible. Mr. Cuban doesn’t write for the paper – but I don’t consider him an outsider. Just from reading his posts, I’d rather listen to him rant than any NYT writer.
There are plenty of cut rate blogs. But choose the correct ones to follow and you’ll easily get more detailed info than any newspaper can give.
Comment by Bastard No. 1 -
I can’t speak for all bloggers but for myself if I am interested in a subject I can spend an unlimited amount of time on it. Weeks or years if I want, and if no one reads it I don’t really care so I have no pressure to do anything I don’t want to do. Therefor on my blog everything is the truth as I know it, with the NYT most of there stuff is good, some is motivated by deadlines.
Comment by Brent -
Hey Mark: Your post reminds me of the days leading up Libby’s indictment. Rumors were rampant in the blogosphere that Fitz would be announcing 22 indictments. Then there is Josh Marshall who was so far ahead of the curve on the Duke Cunningham scandal. It’s a toss up. There are some fantastic bloggers out there, and there are some fantastic journalists working in the msm.
While you pose a fun question… I’m not sure we should go overboard.
Comment by kristen stavola -
the main issue with internet/blogging is that of trust. you said that you can do search keywords on icerocket.com, etc. but how can you be sure that the results that you get are having correct information?
i do not say that mainstream media does not have this problem but i would argue it faces this problem far less.
for bloggers there is no accountability. if my reputation goes bad i can close the blog and always start a new one. but can you imagine doing same for any newspaper.
what do you say?
Comment by rohit aggarwal -
At this time Newspapers are still a better news source than blogs. A newspaper article is usually guaranteed to be logically organized, well written, easy to understand and verified by an editor. You also can find all your local/regional news in one place.
Blogs are also usually done recreationally, while for a reporter it is a job. If they do not write good compelling articles, like the one you mentioned in NYTimes Business, then the reporter should lose his/her job. Becoming a writer for the NYTimes is a coveted job, and they should be able to recruit the very best reporters/writers.
I do think that Bloggers can convey more depth on issues than a newspaper. Blogs are typically specialized, while newspapers have to convey there message to a broad audience.
Newspaper reporters do work on deadlines, however with the internet articles are often updated online when new information comes available, even though these updates can not be placed in print.
Never the less I see blogging as an important new media type. I hope newspapers in the future will start to incorporate blogs into both their print and online additions as a new type of editorial. This would be good for both bloggers and papers.
It is my belief that of all media types at this time Newspaper still offer the best unbiased news. I also believe that in local markets Newspapers have the strongest news brand. Last thing to mention is that Newspapers were supposed to be made obsolete by radio, television, and internet, but this has not happened. I do not believe that blogging represents a threat to newspapers.
Comment by Tom -
I’d just like to comment on deadlines…if you really think about it, if a blogger writes about last year’s news, its not going to be very interesting. So they really do have deadlines, albeit not black and white clear cut deadlines, but deadlines none-the-less. Its a huge advantage over the other bloggers if you can break the story first so you’re the first to shoot to the top of icerocket or memeorandum. If you aren’t privvy to such early knowledge, then you have to fall back to your writing style, ‘expert knowledge’ of the subject, celebrity, maybe insider knowledge, and just plain old having your opinion worth reading to get and keep readers. Not that you shouldn’t have some of those already, but beating the deadline of when all the other bloggers will be talking about some big story isn’t going to hurt you.
Comment by David Hergert -
The New York Times has to be on top of its stories more than the bloggers because bloggers don’t have any real accountability. When the New York Times or any other (reputable) national media outlet gets a story wrong, their mistake attracts tons of attention and it can turn into a national story.
Remember when Dan Rather had to apologize about those presidential memos last year and it made headlines? I think that the New York Times is subject to similar scrutiny. When a blogger gets a story wrong, he might get a couple of comments, but nobody’s job is on the line in the blogging game. Millions of people look to the New York Times for accurate reporting and so there is more pressure to get the story right, and that incentive (usually) turns into results.
Keep in mind also that most of the New York Times material is primary source, reporting done on the ground, whereas blogging is primarily secondary, based off of reporting already done by sources such as the Times. The bloggers have it easy.
Comment by David -
I feel that Blogs are becoming a form of self published, indpedent news. I feel with so much media consolidation, that we need more indepedent media. Additionally, blogs typically cover topics in ways the media is not covering them in, such as first hand accounts of experiences, and the truth behind propaganda.
The interesting thing will be, is how the academic community will treat blog sites in terms of research, because there is no editorial board one has to get past to publish in a blog.
Comment by Stephen -
Most information is second rate whether it comes from the media or blogs.
Everybody has an agenda.
The funniest thing happened the other day. Somebody found my site by doing a search on:
‘mark cuban workout’
I think you’ve got one of the best blogs on the net Mark, your writing has foresight and you’ve got some great advice on success… but you’d be long down the line of guys I’d ask for workout advice. 😉
Comment by Hone Watson -
You nailed it. My point exactly on your post earlier today. This new shift in media is changing everything. Some people see it others dont’. Transparency is talked about but what people are missing is the velocity of information and collaboration. Mark’s blog underscores this point on how his post was more relevant than the NYTimes. Nice!
Comment by John Furrier -
“A journalist for the NY Times has training and a proper education. Any average Joe can start a blog and mouth off. Also, journalists have political contacts and they have access to the inside scoop whereas the blogger is an outsider…”
Do you realize how dumb you sound?
You draw a dichotomy where there shouldn’t be one.
First, let’s address the education question: Most blogs I read are written by people with degrees from MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. Last time I checked, that was considered top class education.
Point #2: Because of the professional success they’ve created for themselves, these bloggers have connections and contacts most $5 tie-wearing journalists could only dream of.
Finally, to say a “blogger is an outsider” is just insipid.
The best blogs (as ranked by relevancy and visitor count, amongst other metrics) are written by people embedded in their particular industries.
Look at Fred Wilson’s blog — he is a paradigmatic example of what I’m talking about – a reknown VC with the experience and education to back everything he says.
Buddy, put the egg nog away and wake up.
Comment by catablast! media group -
What I cannot figure out is why Stross was in such a hurry. The Sunday Times is loaded with feature stories, the column discussing 2929 and digital projection was a feature piece, not a hard news story. He would likely have lined up the story idea with his editors many days or weeks in advance of the column. Could it be that he was rushing Mark Cuban in order to elicit a less than comprehensive response? Stross decided to use a feature as an editorial and he did it without clearly explaining his bias.
Many reporters would not have utilized this technique. In the world of blogging, there are some who may or may not use this technique. It comes down to trust, reputation, stature and record. In my view, Randall Stross has spent his wad. One less columnist to read next week…
Comment by Brad Gibson -
A journalist for the NY Times has training and a proper education. Any average Joe can start a blog and mouth off. Also, journalists have political contacts and they have access to the inside scoop whereas the blogger is an outsider (obviously, both vantage points have their strengths). So you need both. You need the newspapers and you need the bloggers.
Speaking of blogs, I heard you did a Playboy interview and you mentioned your investment in Tucows (a blogging company). The stock is still sucking wind. What gives? Did you blow it on this stock like with MAMA?
Did you get a chance to spend some time with a few of the playmates privately, you bad boy.
Comment by PJM -
As much as I would like to agree with you Mark, the question is a bit unfair … as it all depends on the NTT writer/editor and the blogger. I.e. as much as the NYT would LIKE to say ALL of there stuff is all top-notch, it always come down to people. So yea, some writers (with blessing from their editors) do a crappy job … whereas I’m sure there are others that do much more thorough work.
Ditto in the blogging community – some folks write detailed well-researched stuff … whereas some bloggers just fly off the handle with … crap.
An interesting related question might be who who is more passionate about their writing: NYT or Bloggers? Same caveats as above apply … so change that question (and your original one) to the NYT writer/editor who did the story on ‘ya versus your blog … I think that one is a bit earier to answer! 😉
Comment by alek -
Any newspaper reporter already has his “story” before the interview even takes place. That’s why, despite an “interview”, you wonder how your words/facts get slanted in a certain direction or ignored or completely jumbled.
Comment by Astrid -
When is old media going to recognize that technology doesn’t stop…so those willing to look ahead and embrace it with a sound business model will reap the benefits, instead of fearfully hanging onto what is familiar. the internet, napster, ipods, google, etc should have taught them something. it’s easy to look back and pat on the back. these articles should look ahead and see the potential of trailblazing pioneers. it took google years to become an overnight sensation.
Comment by Brian Dameris -
Think back to before the digital age. The heyday of the newspaper was the 19th and early 20th century. Newspapers were necessary, they were the news aggregators of that period.
No other mechanism existed to provide asynchronous information access. In the mid-20th century, radio and television were important additions, but it was not until the advent of cable television and home video recording that consolidation hit the newspaper industry.
What we are seeing out of the newspapers is exposing both their strengths and weaknesses. Having a reporter be a trained writer and researcher produces high-quality readable copy. It does not gurarantee accurate copy, and that is where the blogsphere comes into play.
The pace of information delivery via the internet has increased the pressure on print journalists to meet deadlines, risking accuracy. At the same time, it is easy for a knowledgable blogger to expose any weakness or inaccuracy in that reporting. This is not a contest that the newspaper will win.
Whatever the business model for news media in the 21st century turns into, I’m betting that in 10 years it won’t include very many (if any) daily newspapers. Daily printing of news is no longer necessary, we just have to see how long it takes (and how much money will be lost) before it becomes too obvious to ignore.
Comment by joe pinegar -
One of the biggest differences and greatest blogging strengths is the ability to publish or link to the raw reporting. In this case we have the complete email exchange. Not selective quotations – the whole thing.
Dead trees are expensive. The major craft of newspaper journalists is taking a complicated story and distilling it to a few hundred words. But in newspaper land there is no access to the raw data. (Though that would be an excellent online move for some newspaper which “gets it”.) Instead we are asked to trust the reporter and the four layers of editors to get the story right.
Sometimes they do, sometimes they throw a bit of spin in, sometimes they write a story which has no relationship at all to any sort of reality; but on the current model the average newspaper reader has no way of knowing.
With a blog story there are almost always links. And Google (Icerocket) is in your toolbar so you can look up the more contentious items. The reader interacts with the story instantly.
Five years out newspapers online are going to look more like blogs than blogs will look like newspapers.
Comment by Jay Currie -
What you should do is short NYT, just like you did OSTK.
NYT (I’m looking at 1 Y daily chart, FYI) just ricocheted off the 50 day to the downside – we have a $20 target on NYT with a 1-2 quarter outlook.
Show ’em who’s the boss, Mark.
Cause it ain’t Tony Danza.
Comment by catablast! media group -
The “old media” news organizations methods have evolved into a broken, untrustworthy template.
The journalism schools are turning out “biased journalists” with missions to make the world a better place (in their opinion!).
The Media Corporations in turn indoctrinate the journalists in their news production templates of gotcha and exploitation stories for ratings or print sales.
There are fewer and fewer journalists in the Mass Media with with the integrity that the title Journalist implies, it’s just production work to them.
The bloggers lead with their names. Not hiding behind the bureaucracy of staff stories, editors and managing editors. The bloggers with no integrity or accuracy get dropped from the aggregater.
I no longer subscribe to a newspaper or news magazines they are not timely , and I can pick and choose the Blogs I respect.
That’s a compliment Mark !
Comment by Don -
Bloggers are everywhere today and the media will never be the same. I have witnessed what goes on in Press Rooms at conferences and events, it’s just a job for the journalists, but bloggers bring passion and knowledge to everything and then we publish..
Comment by paul -
I would say that it’s largely based on the individual people involved. The NY Times obviously has many excellent writers, and they produce some very good content. They also probably have a few ‘bad apples’ in the bunch, that produce not-as-good content.
It’s hard to compare it to the blogosphere in general, since it’s such a huge motley collection of individuals. There are some bloggers who write well-researched pieces, and there are also many who write lots of knee-jerk reaction pieces.
If you’re comparing the NYT to all bloggers then I give the NYT the clear edge. You phrased the question as a comparison between “Your typical fulltime blogger, or the NY Times ?”. If you mean “fulltime” as they make their living form their blog, then the sample size is much reduced. Here I would say it’s roughly a tie, with individuals on both sides reaching the high and low points.
Comment by Dustin Sacks -
the only reason bloggers don’t have the same respect as the NYT (or any other paper for that matter) is that it is too new. papers were, if you research it, untrusted sources of propaganda for years until they became assimilated into the mainstream of society.
as the quality of blogging continues to increase and the level of expertise becomes more readily available via improved search and access to the blogs, the same shift is sure to happen. history has an annoying tendency to repeat itself.
Comment by chris -
if i was to advertize my blog address ..i would think the times to be a good place to put the add
Comment by jeffy -
A look at Jon Newton’s blogs at p2pnet.net show what good blogging is all about. His daily articles shape the Peer-to Peer industry.
His analysis of “real” article and the industry is amazing. He informs not only the people, but also gives CEO’s like me valuable information to make decisions regarding the future.
He gets up at 4 am and writes 10 blog entries per day. He calls the big players in his article to get comments directly. He speakes with the RIAA president and all of us CEO’s of the top P2P technology companies.
Jon Newton is a blogger… and a true journalist with a passion for his topic.
Comment by Kaleb -
Brady hits the nail on the head. Bloggers tend to fly off of the handle, and tend to back track some of their previous posts – most often they are sport bloggers. Next time Bill Simmons of ESPN.com does a blog, it’ll be easy to see that he’s just writing without thinking.
And that’s not like it’s a bad thing. Blogs aren’t supposed to be as researched as an article in the NY Times. Blogs are supposed to be passionate, and convey an arguement (at least that’s how I feel). If you’re having an arguement with a person (not necessarily a confrontational one), you don’t have all the answers, but you still debate.
That’s what blogging is supposed to be about.
Comment by Darryl Williams -
I found the Sunday Times article annoying, too. The article very much buys into the standard narrative about conversion to digital.
That being said, I think *most* bloggers are equally lazy, especially when they feel an obligation just to get content out there for the sake of drawing traffic to their blog, which is not unlike the NYT writing articles to draw traffic to their pages.
Comment by Chuck Tryon -
I think it’s rampant among all traditional media, but especially at the NYT.
We’ve heard all the excuses about why they are better:
Double sourcing — see Blair, Jayson; Miller, Judith (of course, always in the name of “senior administration officials”, when there is NO compelling reason for anonymity.
Editors – Again, see Miller, Judith. Her editors had no clue about the depth of her involvement in Plamegate and didn’t bother to ask. Again back to sourcing — they allowed her to source the VPs Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, as a “former hill staffer”.
Legal protection – The story goes that their writers can dig deeper and take more chances becuase they have the full backing of the NYT legal department and PR through the world press. But that didn’t make a difference this week when it was reported that the NYT held a story for over a year (possibly from before the elections) about Bush illegally authorizing spying on US citizens — at the behest of the Bush administration, for “national security reasons”.
This will be a long funeral, but a funeral nonetheless. Like Kawasaki says in the art of the start — kill your own cash cows, or someone else will. The NYT still hasn’t figured out how to be relevant in the blogging world.
Maybe it’s time for another blogging ethics conference?
Comment by Nick Davis -
a critical difference between ‘mainstream media’ and the internet: somehow, on the internet, biases, favorites, life experiences, etc., can be revealed and even celebrated. whereas the ny times must PRETEND to not have biases, favorites, etc. … the newspaper’s official ‘standards’ are higher; but that doesn’t mean that their biases don’t seep into their choice of stories and their coverage of stories. a blogger gets to admit he’s a liberal — or even announce it proudly. Dan Rather has to pretend he’s not.
Comment by fish -
In a world of ‘either-or’ dichotomies, its either home theatre OR cinema… Many in the media feel that making such exclusive statements sounds ‘opinionated’…
Stross does not seem to understand that here too both sides feed each other: cinema as a social place of experience feeds home theatre as a solitary/family experience place and vice versa.
DVD and HDTV will make this business tougher (as TV has done long before already), but it also puts an evolutionary pull on productivity, efficiency and new/better immersive experiences (like 3D, spatial sound, large screens etc).
The experience of content drives the history of technology and the arts, and being able to see this evolution from more than one perspective at a time is the secret of good business decisions…
Comment by Peter Krieg -
I think Brady pretty much has it nailed. It’s a classic case of the “Wisdom of Crowds” where the collective intelligence of the community is more accurate than any one individual even though an “expert” (e.g., a journalist at the NYT) is more accurate than most (or even all) of the individuals within the community. It’s why Wikipedia is going to clean the clocks of the other encyclopedias. It’s why Digg.com is kicking Slashdot’s butt.
You’ve got some very smart people (like Dan Gillmor and Craig Newmark) thinking about and working on the problem of harnessing the collective intelligence of citizen media. It’s going to be fun to see what these people come up with and it will definitely revolutionize media as we know it.
Comment by Jon Bischke -
Despite my (endless) problems with the truthfulness of Los Angeles – and to a much lesser degree, the New York Times, each paper does a far more research than does the average blogger. Bloggers on the whole tend to do far more typing and thinking than they do, thinking and then typing.
However, you missed the defining difference between the two mediums.
What many of the best bloggers often have is hard won first hand knowledge about the topics they write about. In contrast, newspaper reporters are far too often assigned stories regarding subjects they have almost no first (or even, second) hand knowledge about.
So a little research, a few phone calls and a couple interviews regurgitated is what you get in the morning paper; a complied smattering of information as opposed to the carefully thought out opinions of a blogger who writes about a subject that has been part of his life for many years.
Comment by Brady Westwater -
People are wild….
The guy writes an ass-smoochio Eddie Haskell email asking for your help with his work. Then he puts his deadline on your back…right before he sticks a knife in it. Wild stuff. He’s a historian?
Comment by Danny Bollinger -
I think bloggers as a whole is more powerful than the paper. Regular bloggers still don’t have the impact that a NY times article will bring.
Comment by Ray -
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