28 December, 2006

Old Media Vs New Media

DBunker put an emphatic post up on Rago's recent rant against blogs.

I generally try to stay away from the political stuff.

For some reason I usually manage to tick off everyone in the discussion when I get going on them. Conservatives hate it when I go on about civil rights or separation of church and state and Liberals hate it when I talk about the free market and my thoughts on gun control. For that matter the Liberals I know typically get ticked off about my separation of church and state thoughts as well.

I do generally agree with the instapundit.

I want a world where a happily married gay couple (liberal trust cue) has a closet full of legally obtained assault weapons (conservative trust cue).

To put it in less contentious words I always vote in the manner I believe will limit the power of government over the rest of us the most. No matter who the "us" is and no matter what the parties are.

Generally I manage to hit the anti-trust cue's for pretty much every group when I get political.

Now that I have aired some of my political dirty laundry I really don't think the Rago article was a political item. It has been treated that way in half of the blog sphere. It fits the Evil Liberal MSM guy hates us meme to well to be ignored.

The fact of the matter is most of the Old Media simply doesn't get blogs. I know some of them and have talked at length with them about blogs but they simply don't understand the implications (or the possibilities).

Look to use one of Mike Murry's favorite topics - game theory - Blogging and Old Media are not in a zero sum game.

When Rago is a moron and attacks thousands of passionate and intelligent people it didn't have the effect of harming any of those people. As a matter of fact it upped the traffic for thousands of sites. It created fervour and therefore exchange of ideas.

It probably didn't hurt Rago that much either. I am sure that article got more traffic than any of the others he has written. Fellow "journalists" will commiserate and pat him on the back. Bloggers will be outraged and write at length about him often with links that many will follow imparting him with a voice he never had until then. In short everyone won this last round.

Of course if he keeps saying blatantly stupid things and believes in them sooner or later people will just ignore him. Just like David Duke and Cindy Sheehan who can only make the news by rising to new heights of idiocy and engaging with people who have clearly identified themselves as our enemies.

There is a more healthy and productive way for the two environments to engage. If you want call this Crazy Idea #6.

Full time media outlets (lets call this one Bob's Newspaper) need to assign one or more "reporters" and "editors" to the blog beat (yes I know most have already). Their job is basically one of engaging new bloggers and convincing them to feed directly (in addition to their main site) to Bob's Newpapers online site (probably via RSS).

They don't try to exercise control at all. Direct Control is what is making them fail. They just try to contain the mosh pit.

The "editor" fact checks the posts that get the most hits and feeds the data to the "Reporters". The reporters us this data along with (can't believe I am about to say this) original research to write stories about the blog posts. Everyone wins. Bob's newspaper gets a huge amount of free data and reporting while still being able to hold the worst stuff at arms length. Basically hundreds of unpaid freelancers. If the reporter trashes a blog hey that is traffic as well.

Bloggers win because, lets face the truth here, most of us are hit junkies and check our stats constantly. They link to us and our stats go up.

The best "Editors" will keep track of the facts and who is right most often. They might even start up a Fact based rating system to give kudo's points to blogs that are consistently right.

Slashdot and Digg kind of do this stuff already with a few exceptions.

In Slashdot or Digg if what is written matches a popular meme it will do well regardless whether it is correct or not and you see a lot of gaming on the system using these gut reactions. By adding in a level of accuracy incentive things get better.

In any case D-Bunker ( I have to think up an easier nick name for his pseudonym) is right in that they (the MSM [conservative trust cue here]) are missing the boat in many ways. I am just not sure he was right about Rago's blunder really missing it. If Rago is smart he could turn this into a New Coke thing. Of course judging from his responses so far he isn't that smart.

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