Blogvision

Blogvision

: Jon Stewart lampoons the blog segments on cable news (Crooks & Liars has the video) and, as always, he’s right. There’s plenty to make fun of:

Wow. By reading the blogs on TV, the 24-hour cable channels have combined the visual pizzazz of a text file with the deep insight of a 90-second cable segment.

And about the blogcasts I’m so proud of (and I’m not sure what to think about them showing Ed Cone instead of me… jealousy or relief):

Wow. That’s the same cutting-edge technology that powers VoyeurDorm.com.

And on giving their show hosts blogs:

Kudos to MSNBC for finally using blogs to give voice to the already-voiced.

Can’t argue with any of it. Can only laugh.

So why are the cable news networks embracing the blogs? Rob Corddry says it’s because of terror of this new animal in the jungle…. and besides, those CNN blog chicks are hot. (Well, he thinks they are.)

But seriously, folks… If you’re going to try to jump on the — Stewart wink — blogwagon, how should you do it? Should you do it?

CNN has the chicks reading the geeks. MSNBC started by having bloggers actually on the air and I thought that was good (being one of them). Last week, they switched format, it seems, to have producer and nice guy Tony Maciulis do the reports: He’s good at it. Everybody’s reading text off a screen and, yes, it does make for a straight line.

So what’s the point? Well, sure, TV wants to get the geek-cool ruboff of this blog thing. But I think it’s good that they’re also promoting these new voices: The more the better. Have they found the right way to do it? Not yet.

MSNBC has talked about having a blog reporter and then having bloggers on to have actual opinions. I think may end up being a good way to go.

This week, MSNBC’s Connected had me on not do the blog report — I’ll miss that question: ‘What’s happening in the blogosphere, BlogDaddy?’ — but instead to have actual opinions about the news media and the internet.

I think we’ll end up with a hybrid: Blog reports do give a fresh breeze of vox pop on the air. Bloggers as guests get to bring new perspectives and voices to TV (and radio and print). And what I still want to see is citizens creating their own reports and commentary — vlogs, podcasts, whatever — and getting those on the air.

: Ed Cone comments here… without the cam.

  • richard

    The media may cover bloggage, but they still miss the reason why bloggers are gaining whilst they are losing. Media gives preference to the sensational over the meaningful. Bloggers strive to address the meaning of things. A growing number of people have grown weary of meaningless news.

  • http://cellar.org/iotd.php Undertoad

    I watch the CNN segment all the time and unfortunately Stewart has nailed it.
    There are so many better ways they could engage. Imagine if some of the Crossfire hosts had to respond to points made on Daily Kos and/or LGF. Imagine if they pulled out specific, interesting questions from message boards of large blogs and simply answered them.
    Blogs convert news into conversations, so news outlets should engage blogs in conversations somehow.

  • Mike G

    This is like reading the Sunday comics on the radio. (Which I know Fiorello LaGuardia did during the Depression or something, but…) No, actually it’s like reading a summary of CNN on the web. You can’t force one medium onto another medium; you can only find the part of that medium (personalities) that can work in your medium.

  • http://bigdirigible.rubberdinosaurs.com big dirigible

    Yes, keep them separate. TV’s good for some things, blogs are good for others. Turning one medium into a poor copy of another is of no benefit. Mixing apples and oranges rarely results in a viable hybrid. It all makes as much sense as, say, having Jackie Stewart do play-by-play coverage of the Academy Awards, or having Charlene Hunter Gault explain how neutron detectors might be used to search container ships for fission bombs (as a blog with a name suspiciously like mine has been known to do).

  • http://democracyinmedia.typepad.com Alex Rowland

    I’m not sure TV will every find the right way to do citizen’s journalism, Jeff. Big Dirigible is absolutely right. The problem is not that TV hasn’t given enough people voices, the problem is that TV is not designed to give lots of people voices. It’s an inherently closed distribution mechanism designed to broadcast a small number of voices to lots of people. (The inverse of this being the Internet)
    Citizen’s jouranlism on TV is like pushing a pig through a meat grinder. You still wind up with pig on the other end, but it looks very different than how it went in.

  • http://photodude.com/ Reid

    I thought Stewart nailed it as well. It’s a bit like finding King Kong (or even Might Joe Young), ruling the jungle, and then removing him from his environment to be shown off in Manhattan.
    It’s gonna be ugly.

  • Old Grouch

    “TV wants to get the geek-cool ruboff of this blog thing.”
    Unfortunately, a lot of us geeks have faces for radio and voices for print. :-)

  • Skate

    Well, one good thing, now that CNN and MSNBC are quoting Blogs on air for commercial purposes they can’t bitch when a blog “quotes” TV by including video clips from, oh lets just say, CNN or MSNBC without written permission.
    Long Live Fair Use…

  • http://punditdrome.com gruffbear

    Blogs are getting to be SO 15-minutes-ago. Anyone willing to take bets on how long pajamasmedia.com will last? I’d give it 18 months, max, before it disintegrates into a URL with nothing behind it.

  • http://roxanne.typepad.com Roxanne

    I think I would prefer it if cable news networks used their precious limited resources to go out and get stories.

  • http://cellar.org/iotd.php Undertoad

    Today CNN teased their blog report with the question: “Are bloggers covering the airspace security breach?”
    While waiting for their answer, I checked the usual suspects including most of Jeff’s roll. With the help of cltr-click and tabbed browsing, I looked at 50 blogs. None of them were covering it. NONE.
    Also while waiting, CNN promos their 7PM coverage: “Security Watch: Defending the Skies”. Good gawd.
    The blog report found The Corner’s one liner and mentioned it. “We’re being evacuated. We don’t know why.” Wow, I needed to know that.
    Another blogger was able to blog via Blackberry while evacuating. The entry: there’s an evacuation, I’m running, I’m blogging this via Blackberry.
    To be fair, the segment did start by mentioning there wasn’t a lot of blog conversation on it. But can everyone see the breakdown here?
    Clearly the producer said “This is the story of the day. Find out what the blogs are saying.” If the answer is “not much”, it doesn’t matter; the tease is written anyway, we do the segment anyway. What the blogs actually say is not important, what is important is that we used the word “blog” on the air to help us pump up the current top story, whatever we decide that happens to be.
    Morons!!!

  • richard mcenroe

    This use of the blogs by MSM reminds me of the early Kodak patent for VCR’s… with sprocket holes in the videotape…

  • http://sploid.com Ken Layne

    The reason they “cover” this stuff is simple: it’s a dirt-cheap way to kill 10 minutes a day, and they have very small daytime audiences who aren’t in assisted-living facilities. Without spending a nickel on a remote crew or footage or reporting or anything, they can pull in probably an extra few thousand people to watch those dumbass blog segments.
    A few thousand more people is a lot when your daily viewership is so tiny. Remember, that miserable Tina Brown show on CNBC had ratings in the 20,000-people range. An Instapundit link could probably bring in a third of that, for free. (I say a third because most blog readers are at work during the day, not watching CNN and the Ciali$ ads.)

  • http://www.phillyfuture.org Karl

    Ken nails it. Not only that, but these shows are bound not to open up the conversation to more voices, but help those voices already established. Soooo happy the Daily Show did that bit. There has to be a better way.