Why The New York Times Should Stop Using The Term 'Newspaper'

from the bad-advice dept

I'm probably biased since our blog is our primary communications vehicle here at Techdirt, but I thought Mark Cuban's suggestion that mainstream media outlets like the New York Times should shun the word "blog" to describe their work was pretty silly. Cuban thinks mainstream media outlets should make up a term like "RealTime Reporting" to describe their blog-like products. The Times's Saul Hansell makes the essential point: "blog" describes a medium, like "column" or "newsletter." Calling something a blog doesn't imply anything about its level of quality. To the contrary, one of the advantages of blogs is that people can subscribe to them on an individual basis. This allows them to make fine distinctions. Not only are readers perfectly capable of distinguishing between the New York Times blogs and 15-year-old girls on LiveJournal, but readers will also learn to distinguish among the blogs on the Times itself. If some of the Times's blogs are brilliant and the others are mediocre, readers will figure that out and the best blogs will get more traffic over time. Another way to illustrate how silly Cuban's line of reasoning is is to put the shoe on the other foot. The New York Times company publishes a "newspaper." There are thousands and thousands of bad "newspapers" out there, from the National Enquirer to those free weekly papers that get tossed in peoples' front yards. So by Cuban's logic, the Times should avoid the word "newspaper" in describing its product to avoid associating itself with the riff-raff. Perhaps it should begin describing it as "PaperBased Reporting" instead.

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Filed Under: blogs, mark cuban, newspapers

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  1. identicon
    Jake, 17 Mar 2008 @ 3:31pm

    I Can See The NYT's Point

    The word 'blog' tends to imply something that's done in the writer's spare time without interest in financial gain, though I notice that the Guardian seems to have started using it for columns that appear only its website and not the print edition. (And given the quality of some of said columns, I can only hope the Guardian isn't paying for them, I might add.)

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