WebProNews writer David Utter writes a sensible entry into what is sure to be a wave of heated reactions to a Wall Street Journal piece that essentially calls bloggers and the folks that read them idiots.
The WSJ opinion writer, Joseph Rago, may go a tad far in describing bloggers as parasitic fish latched onto the belly of mainstream -- or legitimate, and least in Rago's view -- journalism.
Utter notes that even the WSJ's own OpinionJournal prominently features links to other Web sites, presented in a witty, even acrid tone -- kind of like its own blog, when you think about it.
Certainly, we like blogs here at IT Business Edge -- we have our own, and we cite other folks' blogs in our ongoing coverage of the tech marketplace. Where we begrudgingly have to side with the WSJ's Rago is in our evaluation of most blogs as a news source.
A quick scan of the WSJ's Best of the Web roundup shows that almost all the sources cited are, in fact, media publishers -- folks who hire professionals to gather and report facts as news.
Take it from an old newspaper editor: Reporting a story fully is hard work, and expensive. I recently had a conversation with some newsroom pals who were laughing about a budding digital media group that proposed it could publish insightful, investigative profiles of state political races -- you know, the kind of stuff newspapers don't do anymore -- for about $500 a pop.
In our coverage of tech, we tend to look to blogs for opinion and insight, not news. News is simply a lot more work than most blogggers have the time (or honestly, training) to tackle. For the nuts and bolts, we keep our eye on eWeek, CIO.com, Reuters -- the professional organizations that make the investment in (and reap the traffic benefits of) covering news.
Where "mainstreamers" like Rago (at least in this instance) tend to miss the boat on the blogosphere is that everybody has an opinion -- those come cheap, like the tech that drives blogs and makes them so ubiquitous.
Are most blogs goofy? Yes. Are some of them insightful? Absolutely.
Is the opinion of someone who happens to work for a news-gathering agency inherently more valid than someone who reads the news that someone else gathers? Absolutely not.
IT pros need to keep track of what smart bloggers are saying about the market. But if you want benchmarking info or an accurate quote on Steve Ballmer's latest screed, stick with Tom's Hardware or PC World.