Blogs and Print Media

by lizard

I noticed a little change in this year’s Best Of contest put out by the Missoula Independent. The best blog category has been replaced with a more general best website category removed, leaving the best website category, which was won this year by Missoula Events.

Though the prominence of blogging has diminished over the years, I wrote back in February that blogging is far from being dead. In that post I mentioned how content I have written has been used by newspapers, specifically the Great Falls Tribune.

For traditional media, blog content can be used at no cost to provide a little filler, which I would think is helpful as newsrooms continue to downsize. But there is also friction. Newspapers are no longer the gatekeepers of content and must compete for clicks with us pesky bloggers who don’t have to labor under editors trying to resuscitate their struggling business model.

In the realm of political blogging, liberal bloggers like to think of themselves as more adept than their conservative counterparts, as evidenced by this post from perennial conservative scold, Don Pogreba.

Instead of knee-jerk mockery, I’m hopeful that younger conservatives can push back on the ignorant extremism that has seeped in beneath the banner of the Tea Party, so I look forward to seeing what kind of content comes out of Copper Commando and Montana Floodlight.

But let’s not kid ourselves, bloggers are not that influential. Newspapers, though struggling, are still the dominant form of information dispersal for your average Joe (or Jane) which is why it’s so frustrating to read the crappy reporting on issues like homelessness in our local fish-wrap, the Missoulian.

All that said, it’s still a great privilege, for me, to be able to put up posts that people can read and comment on.

So thank you, readers of 4&20 Blackbirds, for remaining interested in what this cantankerous blogger has to say.

Stay tuned…

*this post was edited for accuracy based on a comment in the comment thread.

  1. petetalbot

    While newspapers still play a role in distributing information, more-and-more people seem to get their info from Fox News and talk radio (Limbaugh, Hannity, Colter & Co.). News is much more palatable if it espouses one’s viewpoint. Progressives are guilty of this, too (myself included — I tend to visit left-leaning sites). I like to think that progressives also visit mainstream media sites and read the newspapers, just to stay in touch.

    But, I keep going into commercial establishments and homes, or I’m hanging with workers on numerous projects, and they’re following right-wing media.

  2. lizard19

    for what’s happening nationally/globally, you’re probably right Pete, talk radio and Fox news dominate. but for local news, I think newspapers still play a critical role, and they’re not seen as being overtly political, which makes their skewed reporting even more damaging, imho.

  3. As I look about I wonder about the source of opinions, and I think there are two: news and entertainment, the latter having much more impact. Most people do not watch or listen to news, to their unearned credit. But the same people who own the news outlets own the entertainment media, so the message does not waver. If you watch Bryan Williams or listen to NPR, or watch Jimmy Fallon you get the same message.

    Newspapers are a local phenomenon, and their “national” and “world” sections merely echo NY Times or AP. Their local news is a source of historical data, births and deaths and weddings and crimes, and are Most often even accurate in those matters.* There is some value there, but their business model is misunderstood: they sell audiences to advertisers. With the internet, they have had difficulty quarantining the product, advertisers have no target. So they are failing.

    They have influence still, undeniable. But they are not objective sources of information. Publishers live by golf courses, live and breath oligarchy. Editors are pinheads, reporters only imagine they have freedom.

    *i once interviewed a man who was a small plane pilot and who had to land between billings and Laurel using the highways. He read the story in the Gazette after and said that every single important detail was wrong. He could not believe that the reporters got not one thing right.

  4. Big Swede

    Got the new FOX news app on your phones yet?

    Historically I was wondering why newspapers, especially the printed version has taken so long to die out.

    Town criers got off their steet corners almost immediately after old Ben cranked up Common Sense.

  5. mtfunhawg

    Hi Lizard,

    While you’re right that the Indy removed the best blog category,
    it was not “replaced” by the best website category. “Best Website” has been around for at least 5 years, because locally owned Missoula Events has won the category for the last 5 years. Keep up the great blogging.

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