Mark Cuban’s Blogging and Newspapers, a Lesson in How Not to Brand and Market is deliberately provocative. It discusses the difference between “real journalists” and “bloggers.” I especially like his quote,
Never, ever, ever consider something that any literate human being with Internet access can create in under 5 minutes to be a product or service that can in any way differentiate your business.
While I do think it unfair for Cuban to apply his personal standards to other bloggers, he does go on about the theoretical differences between professional journalists and bloggers. He reserves special scorn for newspapers and other publications that publish blogs in addition to their regular editorial content.
Again, I know he’s being purposely provocative, but I must admit that I have not been greatly impressed with how “professional journalists” have been covering the presidential campaign. The emphasis of what I would refer to as “mainstream media” are specifying an inordinate amount of time on the horse-race aspects of the campaign while candidates’ statements about how they plan to address the major issues that are destroying our country are nearly unreported. So I take Cuban’s lecture about “professional journalists” versus bloggers with a grain of salt. As I stated in my comment on Cuban’s blog post:
27. I blog to advertise my professional and consulting interests. I also read a lot of professional journalism and other blogs. I’ve come to be a sincere believer in Sturgeon’s Law. Neither side has a monopoly on quality.
If you are telling me that I should pay more attention to, say, Robert Novak’s column than an intelligently written blog because Robert Novak is a “professional journalist” and gets paid to write his drivel, and the intelligent blogger doesn’t, you’re ignoring reality.
I don’t think that’s what you’re actually saying, but to suggest that all bloggers just spend five minutes on what they publish is ludicrous, too.
As this is the first time I’ve read any of your writings, I’ll therefor cut you some slack. And since I don’t follow sports, your discussion of locker room access by bloggers is totally lost on me.
There are situations, though, where people are wondering about how to legitimately manage blogger access to publicly important information. An example is deciding about what the appropriate “role” should be for bloggers and other “non-professional journalists” in communicating with the public during crisis or disaster situations. The reality is that when crises or emergencies occur that citizens will communicate among themselves using the tools available to them; for authorities to ignore this reality is to ignore a possible channel for important two-way communications that could save lives.
While I don’t place “bloggers in locker rooms” on the same level as this, to dismiss bloggers or other social media related channels simply because they are not “professional journalists” would also be a mistake. (For more information on this topic see http://www.ddmcd.com/situation.html.)