The Long Tail of Journalism

I recently started following a blog written by Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine. I read him primarily for his thoughts and references to The Long Tail, a term he apparently coined last year… and one that I’m trying to learn as much about as possible. In this post, Chris points to: Six reasons why he prefers good blogs to most traditional journalism in the niche domains where his interests are greatest. They are:

  1. They respect their readers enough to open their comments.
  2. When they make mistakes, they tend to correct them.
  3. They understand that every factual statement that can be linked to its source should be.
  4. Because they have little default institutional authority, they go overboard backing up what they say with evidence. Unsourced assertions are frowned on. In this way, paradoxically enough, blogs are often more rigorous than traditional journalism, because they have to earn their readers’ trust, not just assume it.
  5. They’re often written by practitioners, not just observers, and as a result they tend to get the details right.
  6. If their information source is some random, unverified bar conversation or even just their own opinion, they’re usually big enough to admit it.

I post this because a) I agree with it wholeheartedly, and b) I think its kind of neat to see a traditional journalist giving blogs their due credit.

I would build upon his #5 above. Since I’ve started reading blogs, I’ve learned an unbelievable amount from CEOs, CXOs, technologists, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business people all over the world… people who are experts in their own right. This isn’t to say anything bad about analysts, reporters, journalists, etc. I just think that practioners bring something valuable to the table, something I happen to value quite highly.

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