Catching up

I’m amused that AOL makes news today for putting its news in a blog format. BFD.

Most news sites are now taking advantage of this blog format today and have for quite sometime — Advance Internet, USA Today, the Guardian, many more. Well more than three years go, when AOL talked to me about blogs, I advised that they should turn all their news into blogs – and not just a “blog format” but real blogs with real people and real voices who pointed to news from elsewhere in the world with links. AOL bought a bunch of news blogs in Weblogs Inc. and still didn’t learn by example until more than a year later. Blogs themselves have been using this amazing blog format to report news since, oh, the last century.

Can we stipulate that the blog tool us just a publishing tool and it’s not news when somebody uses it.

(via Paid Content)

  • Funny historical fact. What they are presenting as a “blog” is actually about 500 years old. The forerunner of newspapers were handwritten newsletters invented in Venice during the Renaissance, and called “Gazzettes.” News was presented in reverse chronological order.

  • Yes! and notice that when you go to a newspaper site the most interesting and up-to-date content is found in the user discussion board at the end of the articles.

  • Before we get too excited, or not excited enough, remember that the purpose of a news site is to inform, no to make sure we all get along or participate in some kind of social experiment about equality.

    Seconds before this writing AOL News fills its page with the news — from just after midnight, though updated 20 minutes ago — that Paris Hilton has been released from jail. It assures me about the importance of this event by placing it under a banner that says: “Top Stories Right Now” (I digress, but isn’t the “Right Now” part redundant, a little shout of unneeded emphasis that tries to convince me of something we both know isn’t true?) And yes, I see on AOL the tiny list of “latest headlines” to the right of Paris’ head, a nod to the “see — we are actually prioritizing the news!” criticism they must have anticipated.

    Yahoo!, using the same amount of above-the-fold space, tells me “U.S. troops target bomb networks,” “Pivotal vote looms on immigration,” and “Firefighters gain ground on Calif. blaze.”

    Sorry — this is news, and it isn’t good.

    The “blog” approach is something some news outlets should employ. They should be open to all kinds of new possibilities and experiment and risk failure. My own mantra is that the solution to the woes facing small newspapers will be addressed, in part, by their use of “real blogs with real people and real voices,” as Jeff says.

    But at the national level, it looks like a major disservice masquerading as hip that panders to an audience who doesn’t know what they are missing — literally.

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