Are MSM journalists one-way bloggers?

Posted by David Meerman Scott 12:32 PM on January 26, 2007

At the recent Social Media Club Boston meeting, John Cass asked a question of Ian Lamont, the Senior Online Projects Editor for Computerworld that I thought was interesting. My paraphrase of John’s question is "do the bloggers at Computerworld participate on the blogs of others outside of the Computerworld domain?" Ian proceeded to answer another question, which I assumed meant he didn't understand what John had asked so I clarified. Ian still didn't answer so perhaps he was ducking or really didn't get the essence of the question. But it doesn't matter because either explanation for the lack of an answer is telling about the Computerworld blogging strategy and/or guidelines. Tina Lang-Stuart also found this interchange surprising.

At the break, John and I spoke about it and we agreed that most journalists do not leave comments on independent blogs or trackback to them. But since the meeting several weeks ago, I have been stewing over this idea a lot.

There are thousands of MSM journalists who blog. The vast majority of these journalists—network TV people, local TV and radio, newspaper reporters, magazine writers—are blogging via pages on their media property’s domain. For example, the Computerworld bloggers are at the Computerworld web site domain.

The more I've investigated this idea, the more I think it is true: Mainstream Media journalists are one-way bloggers! Think about it. They write blog posts. They often accept comments and sometimes engage in dialog with readers via comments on their own blog. But they rarely link to other blogs and virtually never leave a comment on or trackback to the blog of a "mere mortal."

What's up with that? Is it because they are too pretentious to link and comment? Or are there some stupid controls in place at the media company's site that prevents funneling traffic to another site for fear of losing readers? Or are they forced to blog on top of their regular reporting duties and hate it, so they don't venture beyond their own confines? Or are these MSM things not really blogs at all but rather online news pages with the "blog" name because blogs are hip?

Am I missing something here or are John, Tina and I onto something about MSM bloggers being tight with links, comments, and trackbacks? Are MSM journalists one-way bloggers?

David Meerman Scott

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