Jeff Jarvis, whose mind occupies the intersection of mainstream media and the blogging world, perhaps more than any other person, is having a conference in mid-October in NYC to bring together people from both worlds to present constructive ideas for working with each other.

Me, my feet are firmly planted in the blogging world, but I've spent a lifetime reading and watching MSM, starting with the NY Times at the kitchen table with my parents and brother, when growing up. Some of my fondest memories as a child were our discussions of the days events, and the Times was our common structure. Everyone in our family read the newspaper, often from cover to cover.

As Jarvis councils us, never mind the mistakes, what can we do to make things work better? And I have a couple of proposals in that direction that I will try to present at the October 11 conference. In all cases, they involve the MSM opening up more to include not only the ideas of blogging, but also the bodies of the bloggers.

  1. I've said it many times before, it's worth raising again. Any newspaper or radio or TV station with a good reputation in its community could embrace the fresh ideas of the bloggers in their community by offering free blogs to members of the community, who may be new to blogging. I suggested this to the Times in 2001 -- when a person is quoted in a Times article, a few days after the piece runs, contact them, and ask if they'd like to have a NY Times hosted blog. There would be no control over what appeared on the blog. It would have a nytimes.com domain (something like bullmancuso.nytimes.com). Build an aggregator, something very much like Twitter (which is after all, a river of news, not exactly a new idea, heh) that shows all the new posts from members of the community. Encourage (but don't require) your editorial people to read the blog posts. Let whatever happens happen.

  2. Here's a new idea that I haven't proposed before. Open your newsroom to bloggers. Set aside a half-dozen desks for people who blog in your community, people you've gotten to know, and provide them with wifi, a water cooler, your coffee (no matter how bad it is) and chance to work alongside your editorial people and (very important) with each other. It's an incredible thing when bloggers get together in a physical space, the sparks can really fly. Now imagine what could happen if those sparks got flying between the remaining editorial people in a professional news organization and the bloggers. I believe the secret of scaling the news is right there, you just have to open the door and see what comes in.

changed September 17, 2007