Will Blogs Replace Newspapers?


[Jason Salas]
“Newspapers are a dying medium.  They have been for the last several years, and it’s only going to get worse. […]   The rise in blogging applications and the millions of people flocking to use them, serving as ad hoc reporters, has already blurred the definition of what a traditional professional in our beloved field is.  […] blogs have matured from a tool of the nerd to a dependable source of information. […] Bloggers [have the] opportunity to be as scathing or critical as they wish, as opposed to paid reporters that still have to subscribe to ethics, journalistic integrity, and the responsibility of being a good representative of the company employing them. […] They can’t be held responsible for verifying, or criticized for getting something wrong.”

It’s hard to disagree with such a convoluted and self-contradicting set of statements like this but I’m going to give it a shot.

Newspapers are a dying medium. However, blogging will not be the cause of its death nor will blogs replace newspapers as the primary source of news for a majority of the world’s population. Fair and balanced journalism is good journalism. When I seek out the news, I don’t read Robert Novak or whoever his counterpart on the left is. I certainly don’t tune my monitor to a blog. Instead, I read the Associated Press or the Christian Science Monitor.

On the whole, individual bloggers will never consistently produce the kind of original, highly refined, unbiased content that even small town newspaper readers have come to expect and value. However, the thought energy that bloggers put into their “reporting” and news aggregation efforts can and will be leveraged by other participatory media like WikiNews and will therefore contribute to and hasten the demise of the newpaper medium. Of course, it’s also possible that the newspaper medium will survive by aggregating good content from blogs…

Comments (11)

  1. I think I agree more with Korby than Jason, but you both have some points. Though, Korby, I still don’t think there’s such a thing as "unbiased content" anywhere, let alone in a printed newspaper.

    "Fair and balanced" is closer and more attainable, but is still in short supply. Perspective/bias is unavoidable, just like the notion of ‘observing without interfering’ is demonstrably difficult if not outright impossible.

    I tend to give more attention to sources that identify their biases, which you’re more likely to see in a blog than a major news article.

  2. Mark Bower says:

    Worthwhile taking a look at history I think. TV was supposed to be the death of radio, Video/DVD rental was supposed to the the death of cinema going. Both are in rude health. In fact due to the internet, radio is doing better than ever.

    Newspapers will continue to be important, but they will continue to change, as they have been doing, to have less emphasis on purely reporting news, and more on comment, analysis, entertainment.

  3. Jeff Parker says:

    I don’t know whom I agree with. Yes Newspapers are dying. I haven’t read one in years. I picked one up the other day sitting in a pub for lunch and started reading. Death, violence, terrorism, floods and so on were the headlines. I picked through the paper and finally reached something good, the comics.

    Same for watching new on TV, news on TV really sucks sunday I remember seeing the commercials for it when watching TV, Local Family home burns down details at 11:00. You know anymore new is just bad stuff that goes on around the world. It isn’t informative, it isn’t exciting it is just doom and gloom.

    Now where do I get my new from. Blogs or RSS Feeds at least, certain sources I have found that provides news that is informative to me and not all doom and gloom. News sites that require registration may end of dying I refuse to go to places like washington post and NYTimes that require registration. Especially when MSN and CNN do not. Even Yahoo has their new separated into multiple RSS feeds by categories so I can narrow down the exact news I want. But as far as websites I typically do not see out News, I seek out knowledge.

  4. Jason Salas says:

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for commenting. I’m glad to have set fire to such a strongly-defended topic. :)

    In my experience, these days for every 10 ‘Net-savvy people who watch one of my station’s newscasts – http://www.kuam.com – 1 or 2 will immediately jump to Google to see if the blogging community has any additional input about the story to try and develop a frame of reference. So, rather than be THE source of information, I’m one of. My own doom is apparent, as well.

    As such, I’ll also admit that my beloved TV/radio industries are likewise headed for the industrial graveyard at some point, and Steve Rubel projects my own industry’s doom at: http://www.webpronews.com/news/ebusinessnews/wpn-45-20050216TVAnchorSaysCitizenJournalismKillingNewspapers.html

  5. Jason Salas says:

    Also, check out: http://www.hypergene.net/blog/weblog.php

    The collectionof articles discusses participatory journalism a lot more.

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