Awhile back, at the suggestion of my blogging mentor, Dave Oliveria, I was invited to participate in a forum about blogging as communication. The event was the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program Media Day.
My co-participants included Dave, Mike Kennedy from the City Council and Dan English, the County Clerk. And me. The retired old gal who lives on the prairie, walks her old dog and blogs. It was an interesting mix. I represented what I think of as the nuts and bolts of blogging. The individual who posts on a blog day in and day out. Driven by no more than what interests me at the moment.
I think it went quite well. We each had our own slant on why we participate and how much the different styles of blogging intertwine.
What was of more interest to me, however, was what I learned by sitting in on two preceding sessions. It told me a lot about why we get such lousy news coverage from both the print and broadcast media. Mostly its the bottom line. We have been suffering locally by the cutbacks made by the Spokane based Spokesman Review. A speaker from the Coeur d'Alene Press made it clear there was no intention of picking up the resulting lack of in depth reporting. Their mission, basically, is to be all things to all readers. Of course without talented staff that's pretty hard to do.
I sat, too, and listened to a young TV reporter talk about how their hours are being cut and they more often than not have no background knowledge about the stories they are assigned to report.He spoke of how difficult it is to get a hook for a story because they become so jaded nothing phases them. It was not an encouraging scenario if one has hoped for better.
Then we bloggers took the stage. I don't think we were particularly smug, but we did, collectively, understand where blogging fits into all of this. From Dan and Mike using it to correct bad information, answer questions about activities in each of their fields of endeavor to Dave covering a bit of everything in real time day in and day out. Me? I talked of how blogs can open the world to you on a one to one basis about anything from anywhere you want to go. Exchanges, unfiltered and unfined, between two people without layers of editorializing or mind bending analysis. Real information, again, in real time.
I'm glad our panel was last. I found it telling that the participants from the other panels did not listen to ours. They might have gotten a few ideas about how blogs can be a benefit to them rather than something to fear.
Those in the media who learn how to embrace new technology and techniques will survive. They'll change but they will survive.
Those who do not will leave the news hungry public with just about what we have now.
The questions were good and well answered. The response was positive. I've put my note cards away.
I've always enjoyed blogging. Mostly because it's just plain fun. But today, I can say I'm proud to be a blogger. We matter. Far more than you may expect.