Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Main Stream Media (MSM) and Blogging

I received one email and one phone call from readers yesterday. Both were excitedly telling me that info I had blogged on had been picked up by MSM without credit to me. I tried, somewhat inarticulately, to explain why that didn't bother me.

Since I started blogging last April, several stories I wrote about promptly appeared in MSM, twice as headlines. I like to think my content is useful and fun, maybe that's why the site gets more than 3000 hits a month ( I want it to be higher, recommend the site to your friends !!).

 I have a number of sources of info. I network within the community. I am observant and see some things others don't. But when I post some "news" I am not the primary source. The MSM doesn't want to quote hearsay, they go back to the roots of the story. The MSM gets their news from a variety of sources, including blogs. I know a number of MSM that monitor my blog postings. Within hours of yesterday's post on BixiBike I had MSM calling me for details.

And that is how it should be. I don't own the news or events I write about. They are cast out into the public domain for consumption or rejection. I do hope to influence opinion and events, that is one reason I write. That it takes MSM several days to do its own report on something I wrote on (eg, bixibike, or POW bridge for rapidbus) is just fine, they do legwork, contact sources, add info and depth.

And I use the MSM for my inspiration too. For example, a Citizen story on burying the LRT if it used the Byron right of way, was a jumping off point for a new tangeant not followed or considered in the Citizen, ie the city might bury LRT only in affluent articulate neighborhoods but not in lower-income neighborhoods, thus municipal infrastructure continues to be a diagram of the political and economic influences when built. I try not to simply refer readers to others' articles (we all have way more reading potential than we can ever digest) but to build on the inspiration.

And in symbiotic continuation, the MSM takes the lead from my blog, I continue to be inspired by MSM. And all is well in the land.


  1. "Within hours of yesterdays post on BixiBike I had MSM calling me for details... And that is how it should be."

    I disagree. You mention that you network within your community, etc. That's precisely what those reporters should be doing who call to ask you questions. The role of a reporter is to have a strong background in an issue, so that they can provide appropriate context in their stories and give the reader/viewer an idea of the implications of the story.

    You could argue that you're just one more source in the MSM's quiver of contacts. If that's the case, and they're learning their background by Googling to find someone (anyone?) then they likely don't know their beat well enough to provide the context and implications of the story.

  2. That elipsis in your quote is actually a paragraph break. How it should be refers to all the items in the para, not just the last one. MSM gets is stories from a variety of sources, including tips, blogs, etc and that is fine. They usually know where to go dig for details, it doesn't offend me if someone calls for a source.

  3. Don't forget that there are a pile of us that read only through RSS. Your numbers might actually be higher (although I am dropping by to post this comment and adding to the hit count)

  4. re RSS - I read most of my blog faves through google reader, they get there via RSS subscriptions. I am surprised that the hit counter would not count hits via RSS, but they I dont have a clue how RSS really works, it just sends me my blogs (good) although some show up in "favorites--feeds" for some reason, and few come to my email inbox as well; and of course a few sites dont have any subscription or feed info at all.