Could blogs replace traditional newspapers?

A habit left over from my days of living in the Manhattan area is that I read the NY Times and the NY Post every day. When working in NYC, I would pick up the Post on my way to the subway and then the Times right outside Grand Central as I walked into work. I wouldn’t say it was before the time of blogs, but to be honest, it was before I knew what a blog was. In addition to reading both of those papers online, I keep up with the Washington Post and the LA Times regularly, sometimes USA Today, and ocassionally others as well.

Today I ran across this article in the NY Times. 24-Hour Newspaper People. Following up on the article I posted last week from the Washington Post, I am again struck by the amount of attention traditional news outlets are paying to blogs.

The idea of this article is that it has become fairly common for newspaper journalists to run blogs. The author of the article has a blog hosted by the NY Times and he talks about it as if it were his child or his pet. How much attention it needs, how quickly it can draw him in and how the hours disappear when he is working on it. He makes an interesting point about the relationships he has developed through having his blog and that in some way he considers his frequent commentators his friends of a sort. It seems as if the feedback he gets through the blog is both a blessing and a curse. He takes is as a measure of how well “they” like him now.

Which brings me back to my original point. Is a blog a replacement for a traditional print newspaper? Major newspapers all over the country have reporters who also run blogs for them. It allows for instantaneous and unfiltered (well, to an extent) commentary on an article, the author’s choice of subject and his treatment of that subject. Today’s article even offers an example of a magazine editor, of Business 2.0, who has offered bonuses to his writers to run blogs, with bonuses based on the number of readers. With a traditional print paper or magazine, there was really no meaningful way to track the popularity of an individual writer’s particular article, except perhaps by letters to the editor. And in my thought process, those who would take the time to write a letter to an editor is a pretty self-selecting group. Whereas it seems that leaving a comment on a blog is much easier, and at least in my case, infinetly more frequent than the composition of a letter to the editor.

What role will a traditional print newspaper play in the future? I know I personally haven’t had a subscription to a paper in at least 8 years, though I did pick up the Times and the Post every day for a period of 6 months 6 years ago.

One Response

  1. I blogged about this article too. I think it’s one of the most blogged news items right now!

    I used to buy the New York Times every weekday too. But I never lived in New York, so I had to wait until late morning to see it appear and then generally would not read it until the following morning. It was so the opposite of “24-hour” and my friends would make fun of me for reading old news!

    Since spending 2 weeks in New York, I’ve kind of fallen back into the newspaper-buying pattern. It is weirdly retro for a blogger to refuse to read NYT online in favour of the print version but I love it. And I seem to have even less time than before (hello blog) to read it. But I will always love a real newspaper!

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