919 Marketing’s Round Table Discussion: A “fly on the wall” peek at a real conversation going down in our office

If PR is new the journalism, then bloggers are the new media outlets according to yesterday’s post from Chris Brogan called “Our Responsibilities as Media Channels”.  Boy, did this post have our staff talking.

Screen grab from Chris Brogan

Mostly because none of us agree with Brogan, despite the fact that we usually do take his side, and some of us are, in fact, bloggers ourselves.  Indeed, much of the population gets their news online (and in turn, from blogs), these days.  So, it begs the question, “Are blogs the new news outlets?”

Here’s how the discussion went down.

Ashlie Lanning:
“Not sure how I feel about this, actually. I think one day in the future there may be a backlash against information overload from bloggers and the public will revert back to ‘reliable’ sources like WSJ.com and CNN.com for their news.”

Andy Johnson:
“I agree with you Ashlie.  By far, at least in my opinion, blogs will never be more than personal opinion – which is fine and a very necessary thing. But for pure news I’ll always prefer a reliable outlet rather than someone’s opinion.”

Nicole Plescher
“I agree with you, Ashlie, and disagree slightly with Chris Brogan.  I think blogs are still held in the light of purely opinion/personal interest pieces.  You may go to a blog to learn about the backlash on a news story, but the fact that it is opinion still remains the undertone.  I can list some places I would go for news, and maybe it branches out from typical venues to include “blogger mainstream news” like Techcrunch and Mashable.  But when it comes to a corporate blog, or all-star influencer, I think the user experience is still, “This is opinion… a trust-worthy opinion, but an opinion nonetheless.”

Frank Graff:
“I think blogs are becoming both sources of news and opinion, depending on the blog.

Think of websites we call traditional media. They’ve become very opinionated.  Fox News is very right wing, Huffington Post pretty left.  They are news sources and you approach them as that.  I used to always tell groups I spoke with that if all you read or watch is one news source, you’re not very well informed.

Same with blogs.  The Drudge Report is essentially a blog, but it’s become a news source.  Same with Politico.

Chris Brogan has a blog.  I think the public is beginning to distinguish the two.”

Brian Hugins:
“Currently, the law sides with Ashlie… Oregon Court Rules Blogging Isn’t Journalism.

David Chapman:
“I agree – trusting a blogger as a credible news reporter will run its course.”

Elisabeth Holby:
“I think the credibility of blogs in the future as news resources is still up for debate, and I think that the factors impacting that credibility extend beyond authorship.

As with any transition, it will likely be a slow one, but as thought leaders continue to distinguish themselves as experts in their blogging subject matter, the other massive amount of opinionated commentary will fall to the wayside.

Content aggregators like Huffington Post and Drudge Report have already become valued sources of news and are, as Frank point out, essentially glorified blogs. Specifically, I see an opportunity for blogs and aggregators to take a chunk of the traffic traditional websites (WSJ.com) have as they implement pay walls to their online content.

Curated content is the backbone of many blogs, and in an age of increasingly short attention spans (which this email has likely exhausted, sorry!) the place where the most news around a subject of interest can be found in the most easily digestible format is going to trump the rest. See: Wikipedia.”


So, now it’s your turn:  tell me what you think. What say you? Are blogs media outlets?