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Monday, December 20, 2004

So Much New Media News Today! (But Still No Word from Newsweek)

No surprise I guess that neither Newsweek nor its managing editor Jon Meachum have acknowledged our "Meachum's Folly" open letter last week. But others, notably Hugh Hewitt, picked up on one of the basic points of that letter, which was to encourage Newsweek and the MSM to look on behalf of their audiences for ways to turn the Blogosphere into powerful new reporting resources.

And why shouldn't the MSM seek out the power of blogs as tools for getting to the facts about people, places and events? Hewitt's post is especially valuable for the variety of ways he suggests the MSM could do so:

"Now, a message for legacy media bigs:
"Time has named a first-ever "
blog of the year," and it is the very blog that not only nailed Rather, but also helped propel Christmas-Eve-not-in-Cambodia into the mainstream and which was credentialed to the Republican National Committee. Look a little closer and you'll find three extraordinarily credentialed legal professionals who have been writing on serious subjects for years.
"Now, Mr. Publisher or Mr. Managing Editor, ask yourself: "How could these guys help me?" Imagine, for example, if Newsweek or U.S.News & World Report were to ink the trio to a "Powerline" op-ed per week, or the New York Times or Washington Post Sunday opinion sections to get a commitment to exclusive re-use of the Powerline blog text for the next two years.

"The Minneapolis Star Tribune ought to have locked these guys up a year ago, but the self-importance of the always-ignored editorial board has probably intimidated the time-servers there from raising the subject of the bloggers who have generated more news and sparks in one year than the Strib has in 50.
"In short, Time has identified the hot blogger(s), and any media property looking for eyeballs ought to be beating a path to their collective door to try and sign the free agents.
Just a thought. A profitable, market-driven thought, so it will probably not occur to the dopes running CNN, to cite one example of legacy media trying very hard to reclaim audience.
"A year ago I suggested a week-end cable show hosted by bloggers with rotating blogger guests. Is MSNBC doing so well that they shouldn't try a program hosted by the Powerline guys? Even execs at PBS ought to be able to figure out that the hundreds of thousands of bloggers out there would love to watch a show about their medium, and who better to host it than Time's bloggers of the year.

"The Powerline gents are already accomplished radio hosts (and my network Salem had better move quickly to syndicate their show, jointly hosted by the Northern Alliance bloggers) and could run a great 60 minute show with nearly every blogger in America willing to fly themselves to wherever to appear on the program. If McEnroe deserved a shot, why not these guys?"

Think of it. If The Washington Post were to sign on Powerline not merely for weekly op-eds and/or the reprint rights but as members of the reporting team, the Posties would have the collective talents, experience and insight of Hindrocket, The Big Trunk and Deacon to help shape the paper's reporting agenda, assist in developing major stories and generate new sources for the reporting staff.

For these and many other reasons, I am certain that within a comparatively short time, a lot of folks in the Shark Tank that is the Post newsroom would be singing "Hallelujahs" and "Amens" whenever somebody mentioned Powerline.

Among those cheering the loudest would be the Post recruiting team because seeing Powerline or another suitable blog gaining a significant newsroom role would command the attention of legions of smart young new media talents who for now wouldn't give a daily newspaper a nanosecond's worth of consideration as a potential employer.

And Powerline is only one of legions of talented, valuable blogs out there that could help reinvigorate the MSM. I developed a good eye for spotting promising newsroom talent during my years as a desk editor and I know the Blogosphere is chock full of smart, hard-working people who would quickly make themselves invaluable.

Actually, "reinvigorate" understates the situation. Everybody in the MSM knows it is in the midst of a crisis that has successfully resisted for more than a decade every attempt by the powers-that-be to make it go away. Nothing has worked because nothing done so far has addressed the foundational problem - the MSM has lost touch. Getting in touch with the Blogosphere would be the first genuinely creative response.