Thursday, April 26, 2007

The New Old Media

Jackson Baker (Psst! Kibitzer) wrote an excellent piece for the edition of the Memphis Flyer that came out yesterday about the growing influence of bloggers on American politics today, and the few politicians that seem savvy enough to have noticed it. He was quite generous in not pointing out those politicians not quite tuned in enough to the age of the "New Media".

Perhaps not to be outdone, WMC ran a story about blogs on their 5 PM broadcast. They've apparently been liveblogging the John Ford trial (Couldn't tell you-- I've got more interesting things to read, like fortune cookies), and were so unprepared for the fact that (Gasp!) people read blogs that their servers were unable to deal with all the John Ford-related traffic and they had to shut down their servers.

They've missed out on one important thing, though--- Having your news reporters write an online article and slapping the name "blog" onto it doesn't really make it one. It's the same old story we've seen play out a million times before--- It's what happens when something relevant in pop culture is appropriated by corporate America and the corporate-controlled media. It happens when a manufacturer says it wants an edgy rock and roll song for a commercial and ends up with something that sounds like a lounge singer's rendition of "We Built This City" by Starship. It happens when a fast food joint has commercials featuring "Rap Cat".

And it happens when the mainstream press tries to appropriate blogging. For the one thing they cannot do is replicate the tone of a blog.

It's like trying to teach someone to sing with soul--- You either feel the music, or you do not. The informal voice of a blog has the same effect on a corporate media outlet that garlic has on a vampire, or any Timberlake song besides "Dick In a Box" has on me--- It sends them screaming from the room.

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