I'm at the MarketingProfs Digital Mixer in Phoenix, where Arianna Huffington just completed her lunch keynote entitled, "Changing the Brave New World of the 'New Media': How Technology is Changing the Way We Think, Learn, Play, Work and Vote." Before I continue, let me say what a dynamic and brilliant woman she is. The Huffington Post has changed the landscape for journalism, empowering bloggers to report the news from a multitude of locations and backgrounds. The question is... will it make traditional journalism obsolete?
There are certainly pros and cons to this form of amateur journalism. Unlike some traditional media that move on to newer items of interest, bloggers often stay with stories, digging for the "truth." As Huffington says, "Bloggers do not have attention deficit disorder, we have obsessive compulsive disorder."
She cites how exciting and rewarding this approach can be, when bloggers - regular citizens - have the power to imfluence change, especially in politics. I suppose that without deadlines, management directives, or the need to build market share as a mission, bloggers can pick away at stories like an animal picks away its wounds, uncovering the raw skin beneath.
But, there's a down side. Huffington claims that The Huffington Post focuses on the truth of the issues. Although she admits that the publication has a slant, there is an inherent philosophy to focus on the facts. But, with bloggers responsible for their own content, how consistently accurate can these "facts" be? Yes, the publication can post retractions when inaccuracies come to light, but like the small correction textboxes on page two of a newspaper, who really sees it?
Perhaps, this is a sign of the times. When once we trusted our morning papers and dinner-hour news broadcasts to give us the "real" news of the day, traditional media now blurs the lines between factual reporting and opinion, too. How many people tune into Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow or Bill O'Reilly as their only news source?
Don't get me wrong. I like The Huffington Post and having the ability to receive RSS feeds with customized news content, I just wonder if traditional journalism is becoming obsolete. It will be interesting to see how it evolves with the continued growth of blogging and Web 2.0.
What do you think?
Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.
LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel