When blogs and journalism collide

More and more new entries in the expanding blogosphere are coming from journalists whose employers now require them to blog. But Erick Schonfeld, who writes for Technorati’s #1 ranked blog, TechCrunch, says when he blogged as a journalist for Time Inc. it had an “extracurricular tinge.” Not any more.

Working at TechCrunch is a completely different experience. For one thing, I no longer write long-form, narrative journalism. There is not much time for story-telling…It is mostly breaking news, reporting facts and providing analysis.

So is TechCrunch a blog or a professional media site? Schonfeld says that distinction has become almost meaningless:

The truth is that we are both. We compete with traditional news organizations, but with a small fraction of their staff. That is our competitive advantage. We certainly cover the news and do original reporting, but we also discuss news reported by others and are not shy about voicing our personal opinions. We are as much a filter as a source.

Schonfeld says that blogs compete with traditional media based on immediacy, give and take, and point of view. But the way I see it, the opinion part is what really distinguishes blogs from traditional journalism outlets, which are already using the Web to provide news immediately and to make it a conversation. And users seem to want both styles, at least when it comes to technology news.  Schonfeld points out that of the top 15 sources on Techmeme, which aggregates tech news, seven are traditional media outlets and the eight blogs “are all of the professional variety, complete with writing staffs.”

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