Mark’s view of blogging as it relates to journalism is a myopic one.
His proposed alternative to NYT blogs – regarding so-called RealTime Yankees, City Hall, etc. – fails to address one of the most intrinsic and valuable elements of blogging. Yes, the ability to break and update events in near real-time is part of why people are increasingly turning to blogs for their news. When evaluating the merit of journalistic blogs, of equal or greater importance to real-time news updates is the ability of readers to respond to that news.
Blogs not only allow readers to respond to news items with their own updates and opinions, but readers can submit their own news items as well. Rather than being passive consumers of content, blogs enable a conversation that allows readers to focus on issues and events with which THEY are concerned.
Mark’s point of “brand equity” being diminished as a result of the user-generated content relies on the misconception that blog content will be indistinguishable from the rest of the site. This is obviously not the case. With a clear delineation between what is and is not UGC and guidelines and permissions, this basis for opposition disappears.
This two-way flow of information provides the blog’s host with valuable insights into its audience and – more importantly – engages the audience to an extent that wouldn’t be possible without the interactivity, accessibility and empowerment of blogs.
Far from diminishing the NYT “brand equity,” the NYT’s willingness to truly engage in conversation demonstrates its awareness of the importance of conversation and the wisdom of the crowds.