Several years back, I was asked to speak in Toronto at a two-day conference called, Leveraging Blogs For Corporate Communications (I just checked - the link has been removed). One of the stand-out sessions involved a panel discussion with the top two national newspapers' Technology Editors and another very senior reporter. Blogging was still nascent, and these journalists were adamantly defending the reasons why Journalist are trusted sources and much more credible over Bloggers. The reasons included everything from credentials to checking sources to the infrastructure of the large media companies to support and deliver quality information.
Times have changed.
As Blogged about here last week - Twist Image Wins Canadian Marketing Association Digital Innovation Award - we took home a newly-created award at the Canadian Marketing Association Annual Awards - they are the largest national awards show for the largest national Marketing association in Canada. We also did some traditional press release public relations. Because it was deemed newsworthy, we got picked up in most of the trade publications and even in some of the local newspapers and monthly business magazines.
I got an email this morning that shocked me. I won't say which publication it is, but it does serve the greater Quebec community on the topic of Marketing, Advertising and Communications. This email was sent to me by the Publisher. Here's a snippet of it:
"We have an overload of information to publish every week, so we have to give priority to our paying subscribers. If we are important enough to promote you, we should be important enough for you to count you in as subscribers."
Are you following that? The priority of whether or not your story is newsworthy for this trusted publication (and trust me, it is highly regarded) begins with whether or not you are a paid subscriber.
Bloggers go at it tooth and nail on the topic of pay-per-post and can get evil on the innocuous topic of running ads on a Blog, and here is a trusted traditional print media outlet that is prioritizing news based on whether you are paying them or not. If that's not pay-per-post... what is?
Mark this day, Bloggers (in my humble opinion) just whizzed past Journalists on my credibility barometer. When I think about what gets a Blogger to Blog about a topic, more often than not, it has to resonate with them, it has to enthrall their audience, and it has to inspire people to click on it (and comment). The days of just Blogging about anything or Blogging without authenticity are dead - the competition for time and attention is too high. If I can't get quality from your Blog, I can move on - there are plenty of Blogs out there.
There's a lesson here for how traditional media should govern itself. Something that this specific Publisher needs to consider as the world changes.