Q&A Friday #65: How Would You Improve The Newspapers?

Question: “As things currently stand, given technology, there’s relative strengths between the traditional media companies and the blogosphere. Traditional media companies, given their resources and training, tend to be better at gathering facts and information. The blogosphere, given the much wider skill set and experience level tends to be a lot better at analysis of that information. Would you say this is a fair analysis? If so, if you were given a mandate by a big media company to develop a way to utilize the blogosphere’s strength at analysis, how would you go about doing so?” — Bill_Dalasio

Answer: I’m going to read this as, how do you improve newspapers? I’d suggest…

#1) Being more openly ideological, not ideological and pretending to be objective would help. It’s what the British newspapers do and there certainly seems to be a big audience for it.

#2) The biggest strength of a newspaper is the fact that they have the resources to do reporting. So, they should be doing as much original reporting as possible.

#3) The biggest problem newspapers have beyond the fact that more and more people are getting their news online, is the lack of ideological diversity. If you have a staff that’s 90% liberal, your paper will slant to the left, if only because so many people look at and approach the issues the same way. Ideological diversity would do far more for papers than skin color based diversity ever has or could.

#4) The big papers should raid the blogosphere for talent and put them to work writing columns and blogging. You’ve seen some of that already, at Time for example, but when you have people who have proven they can draw eyeballs in the dog-eat-dog world of the blogosphere, it only makes sense to think that they could draw a lot more with the audience and influence of a big paper behind them.

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