Dan Gillmor has a piece on the changes that blogs wreak on PR. I worked in the computer trade press for a long time. I can remember having a hard time believing that readers would want anything more than a monthly magazine. PC Week proved me wrong. I found it impossible to believe we even had enough stuff going on to warrant a daily. News.com proved me wrong. Now we’re up to multiple stories from mulitple sources per day. I guess I was wrong.
Or was I? How much really changes several times each day? Or several times each week, for that matter? Truthfully, very few of the facts in the IT industry change dramatically over the course of Monday to Friday. Our industry tends to have glacial trends (e.g. the gradual commoditization of middleware plumbing by higher-level applications) and point activities (e.g. the acquisition of Siebel by Oracle). It takes smart people to see the links between the two.
What we need, I would argue, is less focus on the news of the day and more focus on the analysis that brings the news of the day into focus. Is Microsoft’s acquisition of Great Plains really important? Is the Sun/Google deal around Open Office really important? (I’d argue yes and no respectively, in case you’re wondering.)
The problem is that analysis — I mean good analysis — is hard. The good news is that blogs enable me to tune into people who I think have proven over years to give good insight and analysis and to tune out the ones that are
bozos less valuable.
So to Dan’s point, I think the traditional model where a company has a spokesperson or two is gone. It was never that good — I can’t count the number of times I was on the receiving end of a press briefing asking questions that the spokesperson had no answer to. If I were in the press today, I’d keep my blogroll up to date to find out the news (I get as much news by reading Robert Scoble as I do by reading the other news outlets) and work on my Rolodex to find out who the people are who are tying together the facts to provide useful insights.