Guy Clapperton is one of UK’s most prolific freelance business journalists. So I tend to pay attention to things he has to say (as do others – I gather over 300 people turned up on Wednesday to hear Guy along with Sally Whittle, Sally Morris, Chris Wheal, Lori Miles and Catherine Cooper at a Meet The Media event).
His recent post on the death of normal media raises some key points.
He refers to entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den panellist Rachel Elnaugh’s blog , where she says she sees evidence that her blog rather than any press coverage has made an impact on public perceptions of her. And she suggests ‘normal’ press will get “a wake-up call.” (She also says that her foray into blogging goes against a lot traditional PR advice, which is to stay silent and adopt a ‘no comment’ status – I’d like to know who has been advising her).
As Guy says: “Many blogs are written by people who are inexperienced writers and who have no training. This can be a good thing because you see their thoughts as unpolished, which can be more raw and genuine – but the laws of libel apply in Cyberspace as much as they do elsewhere.”
He continues: “There’s a lot of dross out there in blogland but then there’s a lot of dross in journalism too; but has anyone told the bloggers how carefully they need to check their facts before publishing them? Journalists, by training, are inveterate checkers and goodness knows we make enough mistakes. Bloggers, without that background, are prone to repeating anything they hear.”
And finally: “After the initial blogging bubble has subsided you’ve got to ask what’s going to be left. If this is going to continue and people are going to get it right, they’ve got to find a way to make it viable to continue. This means making it pay. This is likely to mean advertising, and that in turn will mean guaranteeing editorial quality (advertisers won’t subsidise something that’s unreadable).”
As Guy concludes: “It’ll be almost like the traditional media all over again.”