Are Blog Networks the Future of Newspapers?

Scott Karp asks: Should Newspapers Become Local Blog Networks?

“What’s becoming clear is that blogs are now the organizing principle for newspapers’ original online content. And these are “real” blogs, i.e. driven by one or two individual bloggers, with (often active) comments, RSS feeds, the whole nine yards.”

“…maybe what newspapers should become in the digital media era is a network of local bloggers — some of whom are staff writers and some of whom are freelancers. Maybe most of them are freelancers. Maybe the full-time reporters are dedicated to beats like covering local governments, which require more time-intensive reporting to fulfill the Fourth Estate mission, but which can be supplemented by freelance reporting.”

He suggests a three tiered structure for these blog networks:

  • Full-time reporters and editors who ensure breadth of coverage, quality and standards, and public mission.
  • Paid freelancers who write on a regular basis but cover a single beat or news that full-time editors don’t.
  • “Witness” reporters who contribute to the reporting effort when they witness news in some form.

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