Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Blogs, news and Big Media
Economist.com | Weblogging
Should Old Media Embrace Blogging?
by way of www.blogger.com

In this article Andrew Sullivan claims that:
“Blogs have emerged as an instant critique of major media,” says Andrew Sullivan, former editor of the New Republic, whose weblog book reviews can lift a title into the top ten on Amazon. “At the same time, bloggers are parasites on big media, relying on them for stories and raw material.”

This is an interesting statement, as it gives blogs one of the characteristics of what I assume Andrew Sullivan calls "the Big Media". According to one of the most used and quoted articles on media ever written: The Structure of Foreign News by Galtung and Ruge, news isn't news unless it's already been defined as news. This positions blogs, if what Andrew Sullivan claims is true, firmly in the tradition of exactly the media he claims blogs are parasites of. The logic conclusion should be that all media are parasites - and that is more than partly true. Media don't, after all, live from producing news, they live from selling us, the audience, to the advertisers. They are not really parasites of each other, they are parasites of us. Andrew Sullivan is such a parasite himself. According to The Economist, he makes a measly 6000$ a month on sales from products he promotes on his site. Now he probably has to pay a little bit for his connection and server space, and taxes like the rest of us - but at least to a Norwegian Academic, that sounds like a decent living.

So what do big media groups stand to gain from adopting a format that delights in promoting competitors' content, and relies on relinquishing editorial control?

Editorial control in media is a myth, today. It has been relinquished to the advertisers and owners, as well as to competition and popularity polls, a long time ago. Blogs just might make that somewhat more visible - and perhaps honest.

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