Friday, March 23, 2007

San Francisco Chronicle: So who will get the story?

From the San Francisco Chronicle's David Lazarus:

"...the simple fact is that newspapers do the digging that most bloggers do not. The blogosphere -- a silly term coined by bloggers to legitimize their posturing -- is comprised by and large of people whose work consists of commenting on the work of others."

Comment: This column is Lazarus' response to the blogosphere's response to his earlier column in which he argued that, "It's time for newspapers to stop giving away the store." I had some critical things to say about the original column, and Lazarus saw fit to quote from my post in his latest column, in which he said he was surprised by bloggers' "sense of entitlement... when it came to benefiting from other people's work." (Note that he didn't seem to have any qualms about benefiting from my work.)

But let's look at this situation more rationally. The most important thing about this back and forth is just that -- Lazarus and the bloggers are having a conversation. Columnists can no longer lecture their readers without expecting a public (and published) response.

I wish Lazarus and others who share his mindset would see the journalist/blogger relationship as a way to increase his readers' engagement with the news, instead of fearing its effect on the newspaper industry. Whether he likes it or not, embracing this new paradigm is more likely to save newspapers than railing about bloggers' "sense of entitlement." Rather than writing another column, I'd suggest that Lazarus write to his editors, suggesting that the Chronicle should remove his column from the website. That way, he won't have to worry about leeches benefiting from his work -- or reading it, for that matter.