The difference between bloggers and journalists

What guides your decisions on whether you link to another blog or website from a post or article you publish on your blog or website?

That’s one of the questions arising from Robert Scoble’s rant that his Intel video interviews were largely ignored by gadget sites and mainstream media even though Robert believed those interviews had significant news value.

Ryan Block of Engadget has a clear answer:

[…] We’re primarily a news publication, and we have to make editorial decisions day in and day out. I wasn’t on duty when the Intel post in question was written, but it was hit by Paul Miller, one of our best and most professional writers. I expect Paul to take into account all available information when writing, and he did just that. I asked Paul if he’d reviewed the Scoble videos; he told me he had, and didn’t find anything that would have benefitted our editorial. In a private email this afternoon, Robert described his video as the “freaking scoop of the century and no one linked to it.” I asked Paul to review the videos a second time to search of any facts or content we missed that might have benefitted our editorial; he did so and reported back to me that he found none. A tour of the Intel plant isn’t the scoop of the century – at least not to us. That’s an editorial decision, and I trust Paul implicitly to make it.

I think that view is valid whether you’re a news publication or an individual blogger.

Ryan again:

[…] I view linking as an extension of our editorial, and as such it falls into place with our editorial decision-making. When we link to a site, that’s a tacit affirmation of quality as deemed by Engadget’s editorial standards. Because people trust us not to lead them astray, we have a pretty transparent standing NSFW linking policy (i.e. we won’t directly link to a xxx pr0n site with a tech story, for instance). […] Sometimes many sites will write up the same news at the same time, tip us, and we have to pick which one to link. How do we pick? Usually it’s just where we found the news first (i.e. who tipped or blogged first), but sometimes we have to make an editorial decision and just pick the blog or publication that did the best job, added the most value to the conversation. It’s nothing personal, but a lot of sites definitely take it personally.

I would imagine that such thinking is also followed by mainstream media, whether it’s blogs they’re writing or ‘normal’ online publications.

Is it the only reasoning, though? Would you link to another blog or website purely to give or receive link love? I’ve done that a few times. Would I do it if my blog, or another I was writing for, was a news site as opposed to a private personal blog?

It undoubtedly would depend on the editorial policy of the site I’m writing for, among other things. And therein lies one of the prime differences between bloggers and those who write for news sites.

Dare I say it – one difference between bloggers and journalists?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. neville

    Heh! Nice one, Susan.

    You mean this as a joke, I know, but imagine if he (rather, PodTech) had issued a press release about those Intel interviews. If the release told a compelling news story, I bet the chances are very good that Engadget at least would have written about it.

  2. Susan Getgood

    A bit of a joke, a bit to the irony of the situation.

    One of the points Shel H. in particular has been trying to make in his various posts on the subject is that the media DO use press releases as source material. At this point in time, it is a mistake to assume that a blog — no matter how well read or well written — can *replace* that channel. It is understood that a press release is news (or at least someone thinks it is), which enough to cause a journalist to at least consider it. Blog entries aren’t established as news. More work to figure it out. Busy people won’t bother.

    As apparently Scoble learned when the shoe was on the other foot — when instead of being the target of the pitch, he was making the pitch.

  3. Philip Young

    Susan makes a good point.

    Unless I missed something here, Scoble is basically putting out video, admitting some is boring (well edit it, Robert, edit it!) – and expecting news organisations to find root around and find the newsworthy bits.

    The news release isn’t dead – it is stamping on Scoble’s foot saying please use me, it’s what I am for!

    Oh, and it helps to have a bit of news sense, too.

    Find the newsline, present it in an attractive way, and make sure the key information is accessible to an editor with very little time to make key judgments.

    Perhaps a PR degree with a bit of journalism thrown in would help – we are recruiting for September 07, Robert, but the competition for places can be stiff…

  4. neville

    You’ve summed that up pretty well, Philip.

    There’s clearly a serious point here amongst the silliness that Robert has rained down on himself (which he seems to do about every 4 months or so) that is far more relevant than whingeing about lack of blog links.

    It is to do with getting attention when you have a story you think is worth telling. Indeed, what Robert did was give an example of how a blog isn’t necessarily the best means to tell your story as few paid attention to the story he told.

    In my previous comment to Susan’s, I said that a press release would have helped. Philip, you’ve added an important additional piece of the jigsaw – the story you tell must be worth telling. Meaning, if the video (in this case) was poorly produced, a press release won’t help that much.

    It’s perhaps interesting to note that, according to Robert’s Wikipedia entry, he dropped out from university without finishing his degree in journalism.

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