Blogging vs Traditional Media – This time its personal

A blog is media.Its a platform to communicate that can reach anyone withinreach of an internet connection. Ive beenwriting this blog for more than 2 yearsand that time has allowed me to recognize the difference between a blog and traditional media and why the two will never successfully meet.

In traditional media, you are first defined by your medium. There is some constraint to the physical or digital definition of the medium the content is delivered on or by, thatfor the most part determines how you are perceived.

There is a cost vs time vsinterest vs access series of constraints that determines who your audience is, how you reach them and what they expect of you. Over time, that has evolved our media into very defined roles.

Blogs are different. There really isnt a cost constraint. It costs nothing to create a blog. There are time constraints, but less so than traditional media. Bloggers dont have to publish or show on a schedule. In a nutshell, blogging is personal. Which is really where the paths of blogging and traditonal media diverge. Traditional media has become almost exclusively corporatewhile blogging remains almost exclusively personal

There in lies the rub. Sure there are bloggers that want to make money from their blogs. Yes there are blogging networks that are corporations that want to make money. They are the infintisimal minority. 99pct of blogs are about what someone has to say. 99 pct of traditional media is about making money. Which is exactly what leads to the resentment between bloggers and traditional media and why blogging on traditional media websites will find it tough to be successful.

I can write about anything. I can write opinion. I can report facts. I can ask questions. I can jump from topic to topic to topic. Sports, the NBA, business, personal experiences, technology, movies, entertainment, hdtv, whatever I want to write about. One minute Im a reporter, communicating what happened and where, the next Im an opinion columnist. The next Im op-ed, punching or counter punching someone in traditional media, just to see if they can take a punch as well as they can throw one. its all up to me and its fun.My blog is just that. Mine.

Traditional media members cant do any of the above. They get hired for a specific job and they have to do that job. They get hired by a corporation that is most likely public, which means their senior management , the people they ultimately report to,have to put getting the stock price up above all else. That is really what blogging vs traditional media in 2006 has come down to. Bloggers drive blogs, share price drives traditional media. Blogging is personal, traditional media is corporate.

Which is exactly why blog readership is going up, while traditional media is consolidating, if notcontracting. Traditional media goes to work, bloggers live their work.


36 thoughts on “Blogging vs Traditional Media – This time its personal

  1. mark,
    as a journalist and a blogger, i’m not going to argue with your thesis. i do think, however, the role of the media will evolve as blogs move more into the mainstream – just as newspapers evolved when radio emerged, and newspapers and radio had to change when TV came on the scene. people want to consume information, and blogs are another vehicle to do so. they can co-exist. in terms of the contraction of traditional media, you’re right nothing stays the same. but it doesn’t mean newspapers can’t take advantage of the new tools being developed.

    Comment by Mark Evans -

  2. AMEN Mark. You got ripped royally. I bothers me that on sport talk radio…and this was a topic a few days ago from all ESPN hosts…that because you have 1.6 billion you therefore can afford it…blah blah blah

    That is unacceptable logic!!!

    I loved your post on whining the other day. Yes, you shouldn’t have gone on the court (not sure your motives) and doing that seems to open the door for others to say you are such & such…but again, your blog is YOUR blog and you should be able to express YOUR opinions.

    When you get together as NBA owners, are there such rules & regulations about this?

    Do you think NBA owners assumed there was a code of ethics regarding the sanctity of refs and expressing your opinions?

    Ironic you own the Mavericks…because you have a maverick personality…which I’m sure makes other owners uncomfortable. You would think they would “get it” unless they inherited their wealth.

    I teach 4th grade Mark and I am amazed at how little the world of elementary school is from the big business world. I have 10 year olds that are more mature than most adults in my class…no hyperbole intended…I’m dead serious!

    Comment by Joe -

  3. Mark, This entry really hit home this morning. I am currently blogging the US National Soccer Team’s training camp here in Cary, NC in preparation from the world cup over at

    The camp is closed to the public but US Soccer allowed me to report on camp. But when they read my articles the first day, they were a little upset at the level of detail and personal opinion included in my blog which blew my mind. I mean, I watched the exact same thing the traditional media were watching and was privy to the same information, but (a) because I live soccer and (b) because I have no constraint on column inches, deadlines, style of writing, etc. I could (and did) report anything and everything I wanted.

    I was told that when they open practice to the media they have an implicit understanding of what will get reported, although they never communicated any of their desires for privacy about camp to any of the reporters there. To me, this sounds more like an indictment of the traditional media — that the soccer team has come to expect traditional media to be fairly lazy and conforming in the types of story and detail that they publish after a practice session.

    I’m working with US Soccer to make sure I get to continue my coverage of camp but it’s pretty clear that they don’t consider bloggers part of the “real media” and the easiest thing for them to do would be to deny me access to the camp which is closed to the public, only open to media. Hopefully it won’t come to that because I’ve had thousands of readers telling me how much more they appreciate my coverage than that of the traditional media on the same topics. There’s definitely a readership market out there for what I’m blogging and US Soccer would be denying their hardcore fans — the ones that spend thousands of dollars a year following their team, the access that they both want and deserve.

    Mark, as a blogger and someone involved in professional sports, what is your opinion on a situation like this?

    Comment by Jarrett Campbell -

  4. Quoting James King, from post #31 above

    “The bloom is falling off the rose of blogging as I write this. One day, blogs will BE traditional media, far fewer, just as ethically ambiguous and paid for by corporate interests. So enjoy the ride while it lasts.”

    We’re already there, Dawg. Think about it. Who has the blog readership now? Big-name actors, writers, politicians, socialites, billionaires. Imagine that — the very same makers of reality who ran the dying brick-and-mortar media. They simply have a bigger, faster megaphone now.

    Nothing’s fundamentally changed.

    Comment by Rick Wilson -

  5. Just as we need to be mindful of the news columnist as opposed to the news reporter. Some people actually believe the things related in fahrenheit 911 which is actually a documentary with a strong agenda.

    Comment by Xinda -

  6. C’mon Cuban, everything I wrote on that last post about Weblogs Inc. was 100% true… why delete it? For a billionaire, you’re a real spoiled sport. Hell, I didn’t even insult you, don’t I get credit for that? Or for not pointing out that the Slate article referred to Weblogs founder Jason Calacanis as a “tech-culture-Barnum”? As an investor in Weblogs Inc., you know BETTER than I do that AOL was just buying Engadget, the rest of Weblogs Inc. is just silt. C’mon man, can’t we be friends? Can’t we all just get along?

    Comment by James King -

  7. Oh, and check this one…

    Comment by James King -

  8. Cuban has a tendency to delete my blogs… maybe he’ll leave up this source to support my point:

    Comment by James King -

  9. Once again, Cuban is on a dubious crusade to validate something that lines his pockets. Well, lets look at his claim that “blog readership is up.” Huh? Where are the sources or facts to support this claim? That’s one os the issues with blogs, the bottom line is that they are primarily just OPINIONS. Would anyone want to stand in a room and have hundreds of thousands of people yell an opinion in your face? Nope. That’s why blogs ultimately will have very little staying power as a whole. A blogger is just one unpopular opinion away from losing his/her readership.

    The claim that more people are reading blogs is also misleading is there any blog on the Internet that has a readership greater than the websites of traditional media? How many people rely EXCLUSIVELY on blogs for news? What about the persons who read blog websites AND web material generated by the traditional media. Let’s not forget that bloggers outnumber traditional journalists by a wide margin. Assuming that what Cuban said was true, it’s a loaded statistic. But as a blogger, Cuban can say that without having to support his claim. Don’t get me wrong, the traditional media has long since been bought and paid for by corporate interests. But blogging isn’t the magic solution to journalistic integrity. In fact, expect blogging scene to morph into something VERY similar to the current media. A few strong sources ultimately pushing the rest to obscurity.

    I think it’s kinda funny that Cuban understands the value of “filters” for TV and movies, yet thinks that the blogosphere is immune to such dynamics. He thinks IceRocket is the answer but how does IceRocket fair amongs search engines? How does it rank? My guess is that, compared to virtually all of the popular search engines, IceRocket is a distant also-ran.

    The bloom is falling off the rose of blogging as I write this. One day, blogs will BE traditional media, far fewer, just as ethically ambiguous and paid for by corporate interests. So enjoy the ride while it lasts.

    Comment by James King -

  10. So true, Mark.

    Will the Mavericks soon have a rival up I-35 in Kansas City?

    Kansas City taxpayers approved a new arena, now will it be NBA or NHL franchise that is the major tennant in that arena?

    Who knows, the KC media has hardly covered it.

    When they do, they make mistakes like when a local sports talker said, “Pittsburgh already has a new arena scheduled to be built.”

    I was sick of the misinformation in the local media, so I became a “citizen journalist” and started following other teams’ arena sagas in my blog,

    Comment by KCHockeybuzz -

  11. Mark, for someone who “gets” blogs as well as you do, I can’t understand why you haven’t called me yet :0

    As for the reporter from the DM News, I told him, I’m not the guy who’s been bothering you, you got be pegged all wrong.

    Comment by Jim Kukral -

  12. Mark you bring up an interesting point. Made me think that we are more likely to find the “truth” in blogs. However, I am afraid the fact that blogs are personal makes them more easily manipulated by big money through intimidation, brainwashing, etc. Ultimately, this medium too will go the way of other mediums, controlled by big money.

    Comment by -

  13. i love blogging …it gives me a chance to express myself threw pictures …and if its a free blog suported by ads my pictures may be up for 50 years as long as i get visitors to support those ads …and i can see the traditional media being threatened by the coverage of the adds on blogs reaching millions …but blogs also give the people from the traditional media a playground to do what they cant do at work

    Comment by microzila -

  14. Mark-

    You are right on with your post about blogs being personal and MSM being about share price. I am sure it will be soon confirmed when some MSM outlet silences comments from one of their ‘in-house’ blogger and the blogger stands up. It will happen, if it hasn’t already, which will only prove your point.

    As a blogger ( )I always try to write posts that are thought provoking and original, but whether they always succeed or not, it is completely up to me what gets written. Ultimate freedom of the media. By the way, thanks for your inspiration, the vast majority of existing blogs came on-line after you started your blog.
    David Houle

    Comment by David Houle -

  15. Hello Mark and members of this community,
    I feel that blogging is yet another face of the Internet as a media we still have not fully discovered. From a technological point of view blogs have been around forever: this is old hat technology that dates back to the late 90s – ther’s nothing new about blogs or RSS (feeds).

    What I feel is changing are people, their attitude, and online activities: more and more people are online longer and longer, and bring along their habits, personality and ways of life. Today’s DSL allows a growing worldwide population to consume information, be informed and freely express opinions that politicians and corportations would rather aviod hearing…

    I feel there will be more waves of empowering technology that’s there just wating for us to discover it and how we can put it to use in our everday life. Just like blogs 🙂

    Considerations from somone who has been living online since 1995


    Comment by Sante J. Achille -

  16. Always keep your blog on my Firefox toolbar and there is a lot of validity in what you just said. I was at a leadership conference at Princeton in 1999 in which a group of visionaries from Northwestern said: “Old media model: company creates content. New media model: consumer creates content.” It is only now coming to fruition, but more importantly as a mix of both, not one or the other. I can’t stress enough how important it is for understanding in libel law, copyright infringement, journalism basics — the things the average blogger takes for granted. Someone needs to teach bloggers in those areas and I feel strongly about this; a J101 Blog of some type could be very successful. There are some serious concerns but it is a fait accompli that information flow evolves in this way, and those who succeed will participate in the flourish. You are going to have a new generation like my youngest son not discerning at all between “traditional media” and bloggers, perhaps until they go off to college to understand the precision required in delivery of facts and opinion without malicious intent. Let’s just say the word “allegedly” isn’t used nearly enough in the blogosphere, where there is an innocence of invincibility…so far. So much still to be seen as this grows. Also, please visit the MLBlogosphere at to see an example of value for a subscription-based blog, with official league marks/logos and more importantly links from every page on league/club sites with billions of uniques per year looking for relevance in blogging. There’s a cool fusion happening in baseball and it’s growing fast, have a look. One of our MLB player bloggers once said: “The best part is that I can blog whenever I want” — you were right on in saying the same. Thanks again, and good luck the rest of the NBA playoffs.


    Comment by Mark -

  17. It is true that traditional media and blogging are different for exactly the reasons you elucidated in article. This divergence is exactly why we must be careful not to rely on one or the other. Bloggers can and do say anything they want about any subject that pops into their fertile minds. Traditional media is much more constrained as more than one person approves of the material in an article. These differences are exactly what the blog readers need to remember when reading the blogs. A blog is not necessarily the truth or even anything of actual value, while hopefully the traditional media uses some restraint in what they report so as to be less fiction and more fact. Not saying that bloggers are liars but we need to remember that bloggers can have an agenda far different than traditional media. Just as we need to be mindful of the news columnist as opposed to the news reporter. Some people actually believe the things related in fahrenheit 911 which is actually a documentary with a strong agenda. So I just caution all blog readers to be careful in what they read.
    I also want you to know that i have always found your blog very informative without radical overstated views.
    Just one more thing. You are right on about the NBA referees. I have officiated basketball football and baseball and have found the most challenging to be basketball which goes so fast at times that your mind can’t react quick enough to be fair so a person just does as good as they can. Only the best of the best should officiate the NBA playoffs.

    Comment by Robert Wiens -

  18. I totally agree. I have my own blog, and it is 100% personal. I love that about blogs. It’s not share price driven (as you said). It’s 100% personal. You can go from sports to everyday life stories to questions to humor to facts. I do agree with Mitchell about character affecting the effectiveness of a blog, so integrity is important. That’s why I read your blog, because I think you have great integrity. Also, if you have nothing else to do, go to my blog at

    GO MAVS!!!!!!

    Comment by Will -

  19. The problem with “citizen journalists” is they have no one to hold them accountable for providing false information. Blogs have to be read cautiously and with a good grain of salt. If I’m free to write and report whatever I want, then who is to say I’m telling the truth?

    Journalists have editors, bosses, who are on the hook for lousy reporting. Are you willing to believe everything someone reports as fact on their blog? If it’s a soccer match on planet Neptune, there is no way to verify the information.

    The reason you believe, or not believe, what Mark has to say is subjective. If you believe in him as a person with integrity, you will believe him. If you doubt his character, you won’t.

    The same holds true with traditional media. Newspaper reporters may lie, editors may overlook checking the facts, media owners may have biases. The emphasis should be on those of us who digest the information…are we skeptical enough to hold the information gatherers accountable?

    Comment by Mitchell Aiken -

  20. Hey Mark. Watching Game 3 right now. Sorry about the $200k fine. Whatever happened to free speech? That was a great post and usually when you make noise, change happens. I believe you just want to make the league better and for them to understand that the NBA is a great product so sell it! Question that I would like to see you adderess on the blog is whether the NBA should go to challenge system like the NFL? Thanks, Michael

    PS, Also some more success and motivation would be good to.

    Comment by Michael -

  21. With blogging, it’s easy for anyone who makes a good point in an intelligent manner to get widespread notice and publicity.

    Big media fears this because it undermines their model of making folks pay for advertising and product placement.

    Comment by Aaron B. Hockley -

  22. What about bloggers who see the audience (the size of the audience) as a currency for itself. I think they exist but I wonder if they can hold on to their audience in the face of the feedback from comments and other blogs that cost them credibility when they go to far. Traditional media, unlike the blogosphere, seems to have this unwritten rule to leave others in traditional media alone.

    Comment by Alfred Thompson -

  23. Big media is analogous to the mainframe computer. Its day has passed. The blogger is analogous to the PC.

    We don’t really need the mainframe anymore.

    Comment by Conor -

  24. Mark,
    I’ve followed your blog for the past year and this post is dead on. I recently wrote a response to Paul Scrivens’ (9rules CEO) decree that all bloggers should post on a more consistent schedule. Advocating that blogging should become more like traditional journalism is completely missing the boat and strips blogging of the essence that makes is so attractive- the fact it’s pure, unadulterated , spontaneous thought. here’s my response:


    Comment by Sean Tierney -

  25. I agree with almost everything you wrote in this post. The one thing you left out is that the media is often without a job if they base articles on bogus facts. Bloggers, on the other hand, dont have to let facts get in the way of their opinions. While I dont think that a person should be fined for voicing their opinion in a personal blog, your blog is different. As an NBA team owner, people reading your blog (who have mostly found it because you’re an NBA owner) expect the truth and really buy into your insider viewpoints. Maybe next time instead of erasing responses you should correct yourself and further expand on your viewpoint.

    Comment by Lucas -

  26. Well, count me as part of the 1% that sees my blog as a money making tool. I’m not a ‘citizen journalist’, I’m a business person sharing information about products and services that I believe will add value to my customers lives while adding value to my bottom line.

    Some people want to blog about knitting, I prefer to blog about Internet marketing. Guess that’s the beauty of it!

    Comment by Richie Carey -

  27. Hello Mark!I’m a Chinese NBA fan.I know your name in 1999 when you get my favorate player Rodman to Dallas,I thought that’s crazy.But as I know you more and more,I realize that your crazy is so great,and Mavericks is now a great team with great passion,I like it.

    I love watching basketball match so much.I like Spurs and I loves Duncan,but I have to say it’s a good year for Mavericks,so many talent players ,best coach Johnson and best year for Dirk.I would say it’s a good chance for Mavericks this year,However it’s not easy to be world champion.good luck for you,good luck for Mavericks!

    Do you know in China,there are not only Yao ming’s fans who support Rockets,there are also many Maverick’s fans.I think you should take some time communicating with these Chinese fans,as they are an important part.

    I think fans in China are eager to get 0-distance to NBA .but here in China,the conditions are so poor.I hope one day you can come to China and make speeches in our colleage,or show your basketball skill in our basketball grouds,haha.What do you think?I hope to get your reply.

    Comment by Kemp -

  28. Send the WNBA a retraction and an apology of your statement just to mock the NBA.

    I would hate to have to be accountable for every word on my blog or to any organization for whom those words might agitate.

    Does a disclaimer not release you from that kind of scrutiny and judgement?

    Comment by chad -

  29. I, too, not unlike several others of your readers, was stumped by the NBA’s reaction to your post. I did recently hear a rather convincing quote from Tony Kornheiser I believe it was, via traditional media, stating that generally whenever the NBA fines you, they take the time to consider what you’ve said, because its generally what is on the minds of all the owners. However, I don’t see why they have to charge you so many thousands of dollars for your opinion, especially in this case. This is a completely personal public domain…however that works out…and it is just your opinion. You aren’t out to deface them. So why fine you so much? I have to applaud your past responses though, giving to charity and whatnot, and its hard to disagree with much of what you say or much of what you do.

    Comment by Nic -

  30. Blogging is just the tip of the Iceberg.There was an interesting panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference last month called “Rise of Citizen Journalists”
    You might find this useful as people now want to “join” the conversation. If you have a blog you “get it”

    Comment by Andrew Coffey -

  31. Blogging is just the tip of the Iceberg.There was an interesting panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference last month called “Rise of Citizen Journalists”
    You might find this useful as people now want to “join” the conversation. If you have a blog you “get it”

    Comment by Andrew Coffey -

  32. First of all sorry for my poor english (I’ll try to use dictionary)

    Have to say it: Trad. Media is just making money, and more money by selling the information to people, and it doesn’t matter if its a right one or not.
    Pure example is myself(Bosnian) and my comming to Austria.
    People here were asking me if we had electricity, are all women wearing kerchiefs(found the word in a dictionary), do we have buildings. People were surprised that I know how to fix computers. And they all tell me sorry thats what they saw, heard, read in News. And no one could even make a comment about it.

    In the blog you can write what you want, however you want it, and get different oppinions, which can expand your knowledge about other things. Right blog can make you try do things (thnx for Whiner Topic).

    This is the real differenc between the blogs and traditional media:
    I can give my comment on what Mark said in this blog.
    I=bosnian student living in Austria.
    Mark=millioner living in America…I can even call him Mark. No disrespect Mr. Cuban just trying to make a point.

    Comment by Miodrag Pejic -

  33. Mark, when do you sleep? This post appeared at 5:42 am! I’m shocked. Genius like you must sleep for some time, at least sometimes

    Comment by Him -

  34. I wrote basically the same thing as I’m going to write here and sent it to the NBA not that anyone will care or read it. Since they obviously read your blog, maybe this will do more good:

    I personally think it’s a friggin insult to people who have hard working jobs who make $30,000 or $50,000 a year to fine someone $200,000 for saying the refs could be doing a better job and the NBA could be doing a better job with the refs. It’s an INSULT to take someone’s money with the only provocation being “but he’s talking smack about us.” WELL THEN GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER YOU FRIGGIN LOSERS!!!!!!!

    Obviously the NBA has serious issues. If it wasn’t the only game in town, I’d have taken my business elsewhere long ago. Any business that’s not in the business of improving and bettering itself really needs to get a reality check. I’d tell the NBA this if I had the connection to them – I’d tell them that the marketing of personal superstars like LBJ, like Dirk, and like Kobe is NOT the long term. They keep looking for “the next” and it’s going to get old, sort of like baseball with Ken Griffey Jr, ARod, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, they are selling humans and basically humans aren’t that predictable. Sell the game! And while you’re at it, make it interesting.

    You’re in the wrong business Mark – they have control over what you say because they can fine you as much as they want, even if it’s obscene to the rest of the world. A “fine” is money required to be paid as a result of an “offense” but the only thing offensive was the AMOUNT OF THE FINE! They want to fine you? Great, fine you 5k. Fine you 10k. Don’t fine you 3 times what the average family makes. Or 5 times!

    Do they really think it helps business? “Oohh the NBA fined Mark Cuban $200,000 today for saying our refs suck.”

    Press release two: “We admit some errors in the game last night and they should have reviewed that shot.”

    WELL THEN YOUR REFS SUCK! They are professionals overseeing billions of dollars in business and when they suck you want people to IGNORE that?!??!?!?! MAKE SENSE PEOPLE

    This is the type of behavior that really pushes people down. You seem to have the willpower to keep fighting them Mark, and that’s great. I don’t know all your NBA owner bylaws, but I’m sure there are a ton. Good luck trying to improve things when nobody else wants to improve them. It’s too bad that people want to live in the past (“All time NBA, All-time teams, All-time tournament”) instead of the now and the future. I never hear anyone talk about the young guys in the league except Bron, Melo and Dwayne Wade. What about Josh Howard and Josh Smith, CP3, Felton Spencer? What about the NEXT class of refs – those who hopefully have some semblance of a clue about the game.

    Oh man ok I’m getting just more and more frustrated thinking about these people.


    Comment by Matt Antonino -

  35. Here is one attempt of traditional media trying to make a network of blogs.

    There are quite a lot of users readers visiting and commenting on the blogs – but I think that is only because that website has a lot of traffic. Also, those “bloggers” are hired to do their job. In my opinion their blog “network” lacks the spirit of websites like yours and many others.

    It really depends on what the readers want. Some blogs feel like a corporation – with no soul. Others make you feel at home and relate to the writer. Some are just reflectory on their own personal lives, others have blogs that are focused on one topic – the bloggers life passion.

    Comment by Share Trading -

  36. Yes, much of what you say is right on target.

    I do think that the contraction/expansion has to be kept in a product life cycle perspective. Usually rapid early expansion reaches a peak in the rate of growth which then declines. It does not invalidate your argument but would put it on firmer ground to make such an adjustment.

    Also, the corporations who have the media are creating blogs so they don’t care where they get there money if the sell ads on the blog space. There is a problem here in measuring true growth of the media sphere. In fact, it seems they are attempting to tie it all together as they come to folks on the tv, cell phone and computer.

    Your point about corporate seems to have at least two dimensions – that of control as well as money. Seems the freedom of the personal world can also make considerable money if done the right way. Not by becoming corporate but by becoming savvy in the ways of contracting, etc. In fact, many people personally sharing and working together can likely offer the marketplace products as valuable or more valuable than much of what results from corporate control. Corporate control seems to reduce creativity, enthusiasm, etc for anything other than money or moves up the hierarchy. It seems that free personal interaction restores these personal traits to action in the environment of personal control that you describe so well.
    Thanks for the blog.

    Comment by Rural Eclectic -

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