Avoiding Collapse Through Blogging

Friday, April 23, 2010

The media as we know it may soon be coming to an end. In a recent article for MediaShift, writer Roland Legrand tells of how another media scholar and writer, Clay Shirky, believes that traditional media outlets have become too big for their own good, destining them for collapse. This may seem disconcerting to journalism students such as myself, however, as Legrand continues he details several ways future journalists can save themselves in the face what I am titling, with inspiration from John Stewart, "mediapocalypse."

In examining the newspaper industry, it becomes evident that the structure and functioning of a large newspaper remains extremely complex. First, as Legrand points out it must employ, reporters, editors, news managers, graphics editors, printing, and sales and circulation departments. Also, with new online technologies, papers must employ people involved in digital news, who produce stories and video often 24 hours a day.

With all this complexity and need for employees, Shirky points out that traditional media entities will soon not be able to produce profit and will collapse in on themselves. Yet, in his article Legrand provides a well argued case for how blogging can help. First, blogs provide an interactive community and running them is far less complex. In following three simple rules, Legrand believes individuals and newspapers can find success with blogs.

First, newspapers must keep their blogging staff at a minimum and utilize simple software. Using simpler software will make the blog more manageable and limit the need for a more complex technical staff.

Second, blogs must be run similarly to small businesses. Although Legrand does not expound on this idea, in my opinion, this rule involves a local and creative approach to the news.

Lastly, bloggers must be granted freedom of control over their blogs. While it may be tempting for large news organizations to enforce too much control over bloggers, ultimately this will limit the creativity and life of the blog.

I agree that Legrand's approach to blogging is good sound advice for students such as myself. The last concept he discusses is the blog's ability to create a personal brand for an individual blogger, an idea that will come in handy for journalists after "mediapocalypse." As we've discussed in class, there remains a good chance that future journalists may someday be forced to take control of their own business and work independently. So, take Legrand's advice and continue to develop your brand as a blogger, your future may depend on it.


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