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
    Jericho Matt Bloom, 17 Mar 2008 @ 7:32pm

    I agree.

    Seems to me that the New York Times is among the rif raf. Along with most other mainstream news outlets that would rather analyze the intricacies of Obama's minister's statements (do you think he might have had indigestion when he made those statements?!!!!), or the latest hangnail Britteny Spears had this week. When paying attention to the mainstream media, one might form the opinion that there isn't a whole hell of a lot going on in the world. You and I obviously know differently.

    I think it's funny that the Times has the nerve to complain about declining sales as American Journalism falls into an Abyss of fluff and meaningless editorial opinion. It is for that reason that I agree with the writer of the article. I think they should call themselves something different. How about "Pointless Waste of Pixels and Bandwidth?"

    It's got a ring to it, don't you think?

    You see, that way, all you have to do is see the word, associated with the Fourth Estate, and know that their "Pointless" branded blog serves little journalistic value. Doing something like that would be a remarkably useful service to the rest of us.

    But what do I know?

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