Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I've Said This Before 

I've written before that I'm not afraid of media consolidation in the US because blogs have the potential of filling in gaps the media miss. And there is evidence to indicate I might be right. Here is an example of a weblog site that is doing just that. It is New Jersey Weblogs, a site that is attempting to cover the state through bloggers who take a town or sport or other topic and follow it. In essence, they are reporters in a blog set up like a newspaper existing only online.

Will efforts like this succeed? Many won't but some will and enough should be around to fill in where major media leave gaps. I note, however, that at least one blog I examined seemed to be rehashing news from the newspaper with only occasional references to other sources. This will have to change in the long run for such blogs to succeed. Why should someone come to a local blog to read news rehashed from the newspaper? Bloggers need to develop their own sources and stories to make their blogs compelling reading. When they do that, they also will be compelling targets for PR practitioners.

It is not clear what will work and what won't with blogging. I'm convinced blogs that carry new content have a better chance of surviving than blogs that don't. Hence, blogs like mine are an endangered species in the long run. Our only salvation is to find news in places that target readers don't normally look. Hence, I read publications that are out of the realm of most PR practitioners -- economics, technology, politics, law -- and I try to find instances that demonstrate PR principles or sins.

I have avoided rehashing news from the PR industry, although I find that news interesting. Others do it better than I do.

Take some time to read through the various entries in New Jersey Weblogs. It might give you ideas for how to use blogs in your own organization. For example, each major department keeps a blog that is reported to a central intranet site and functions like an internal newspaper.


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