Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The fall of the mainstream media?

I'm not sure if you've taken note of this, but the bloggers are taking over.

There was a time when blogs were used for commentary on stories that had appeared in that days paper or on the TV news. Now TV, radio and the newspapers are being scooped regularly by the blogging community.

Over the past week, I can't count the number of stories I've heard that have started with "according to (fill in the blank) dot com ..." And I've read more than a handful of stories in WNY's leading newspaper, the Buffalo News, that have referenced topics I had read the day before ... or a couple days before ... on my favorite WNY media clearinghouse, WNYMedia.net.

WNYMedia.net is a sort of media co-op, giving a venue to several writers (including myself) to post their thoughts, analysis, and news scoops. It's a sort of one-stop shop for WNY blog thoughts. It lists four people on staff and 11 contributors. But there's even more than that.

I subscribe to a lot of blogs. Fifty or so. About half of them are from WNY. Most of them are updated daily. Even the mainstream folks have taken to using blogs to get the word out. Ironically, I use my talk shows to promote my blog ... and my blog to promote my talk shows.

There was a day, of course, when newspapers were the only game in town. Then came radio. And newspapers feared that radio would be their demise. But they survived. Then came TV. And newspapers are radio feared it would be their demise. But they survived. Then came the internet. And everyone's worried that it will be their demise.

And it might just be.

After all, the internet offers newspapers via blogs. It offers radio via podcasts and web streams. And TV via YouTube. It is everything the mainstream media offers ... but instantly ... and usually for free. Oh, and now, it's earlier, too.

Before I was a talk show host, I was a reporter. There was a piece of trash web site that would often steal information right from our paper ... and print it as though it was their own. Occasionally, they would get some information online before I got it in print. Oh, man, that was infuriating.

Imagine if your your job is to gather information and distribute it to the world. You work 40 hours each week with this sole goal. And then someone who has no training scoops you ... and for the mere joy of it. He's not even getting paid! Infuriating.

Of course, the honorable thing to do is to attribute the web site for scooping the story.

A few weeks ago, the Associated Press put the blogging world on notice: Don't use our stuff without paying for it. See, some unscrupulous bloggers would pick up AP stories and run them on their sites ... sans attribution.

But that seems to work both ways. Mainstream media has taken information from local blogs and run with it ... sans attribution.

And now ... they're on notice.

Newsletter for July 29th-ish

News, notes and necessities

items of interest the week of July 28, 2008

an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler

News: A couple guests just confirmed that I wanted to let you know about:

Wednesday, Buffalo Developer Carl Paladino at 10 a.m. on WECK. We'll talk about him, his business, and a lot of local politics, including his current fight with the Buffalo School Board. He'll be on all show and we'll take calls at (716) 783-9325.

Then Wednesday afternoon, I'll be anchoring a live remote from the Niagara County Fair from 2 to 5 p.m. Come out and say 'hi.'

Thursday, Marcia Pappas, president of the New York State chapter of the National Organization for women, talking about whether I'm sexist or she's looney. That's at 10 a.m. on WECK ... and depending on how it goes, may re-air at 11 a.m. on WLVL.

Notes: The current poll on the blog asks about campaign finance reform ... whether it should be more strict, less strict, or if it's just right. As usual, I'm in the minority.

The forum is up to 22 people, so I added AirFox, which seems to have pleased MindCrime. Bratty Jenn is our most recent returnee. And I'm happy to have her.

Stats: This month has been the busiest month ever for both scottleffler.com (over 11,000 hits so far) and the podcasts are having their third highest downloads ever (over 23,000).

I'm a day late on the newsletter (you may have noticed) ... and it's column day, so I'm off to write some more.

Necessities: Need to chat with a friend, but they don't have an IM? Try Chatzy.

I sent this to you because I thought you might appreciate it. If I was wrong, please just respond and ask to be taken off the mailing list. I'll take care of it. If this was forwarded to you and you'd like to receive future updates, please email scott@scottleffler.com and ask to be added to the list. I'll make that happen.

Smile, I'm on candid camera

The Jon Powers campaign has been trying to get me to come to one of their meet-n-greets for over a month.

Last night, with the kids at my mothers and my wife at work, I decided to make the trek out to North Tonawanda to Soos' Cafe to meet the candidates staff and hopefully run into a couple listeners.

There were probably 30 to 40 people at this little shin-dig, which was part meet-n-greet and part fundraiser. As a member of the media, who attempts to maintain some independence, I'd like to point out that I was not a paying customer at this gig.

But the Powers staff was very nice - a young group of people - who seem to have it together, actually. And I did meet a couple listeners ... and some fellow members of the media.

Jon talked a lot about his time in Iraq ... in addition to his campaign. Next time I have him on radio, I'm going to ask him to share some of his Iraq stories, which were rather gripping.

A note on the photo: I asked the photographer to keep me out of the pictures, to which he replied, "then don't stand near the candidate." Obviously, I failed on that account.

Actually, I spent about 10 minutes talked with the candidate, mainly about the inner workings of his campaign. After his speech, he had a QnA. I asked him about his thoughts on getting our soldiers out of Iraq. He said once we have a new president, he's hoping for 16 to 18 months to have the troops "redeployed" (elsewhere).