Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Community Bloggers Become Newspaper Reporters

Center for Citizen Media: Blog » Blog Archive » Newspaper Asks Bloggers for Help

The San Jose Mercury News is now advertising that they are looking for "community bloggers" to cover local news such as school fundraisers, high school sports scores, and all around local buzz.

Funny how newspapers have cut staff to the point that they no longer have reporters to cover such events. Even funnier how they are looking to bloggers to provide that content for FREE!

It's true that bloggers have muscled their way into mainstream media. Just take a look a Blogburst, who provides blogging content to media companies like Reuters.

But do we really want citizen journalism? Sure, news on who won the local high school football game isn't something I need to know was reported by a pro. But what if a blogging citizen with an agenda starts covering the local election, the local referendum, etc. He or she can interview people and skew the news to fit their point-of-view.

On the other hand, it's not like journalists always keep their opinions to themselves. They'll show it by using a particular word or description. On TV, reporters make faces, question the story, shake their heads, or any number of things that remove journalistic integrity.

Maybe it's just me, but I wish media companies would go back to holding themselves to the highest of standards. I wish TV News Magazines like 60 Minutes would give us both sides of a story, rather than just one. I would actually watch again if they would! I wish news was just news which means I would never again have to listen to Shepard Smith freak out on the set of "Studio B" over a story that sparks his emotion. I wish we could go back to the days when girls beating the crap out of each other wasn't newsworthy, and you wouldn't hear what happened on "The Bachelor" during the newscast.

Honestly, I wonder how anyone with a Journalism degree feels about newspapers looking for free help from local bloggers? And if you are a local blogger, will you give away your services for free? The newspaper will sell advertising around your content and making money for the company. But maybe the opportunity to become a local celebrity is pay enough.

If you are a blogger with a local flare, take advantage of the newspapers handicap, and fill the void on your own blog where YOU can sell local advertising and seek out sponsors to pay your costs, and pay for your time. I met a guy at a blogging conference recently who is working on doing just that. HE is the authority in town for Town Council Meetings NOT the newspaper, or even the local TV / Radio news!

I've rambled on enough. What are your thoughts on citizen journalism...good or bad? Would you do it for free, or try to capitalize on the void in local news on your own? MARYLYNNFORM me!

- Mary-Lynn

No comments: