Media Criticism Spring 2012

Part 1: Deconstructing Super Bowl Ads

Bloggers are Reporters; Reporters are Bloggers

Posted on | April 25, 2012 | No Comments

Or at least they should be. The most successful of news giants are taking to the internet and their reporters are blogging. They’re “blog posting” more than they’re “story writing. (Doctor, 123). The New York Times hosts more than 70 blogs. The Journal News has over 50. These companies have their staff blogging, not outsiders. Big names from The Times such as David Carr, Brian Stelter, and David Pogue all blog on different topics for their company.

The TimesBrian Stelter is a prime example. He’s one of the few journalists who went from a solely online presence as a blogger to a major print media outlet. Mere months after graduating college, Stelter began work for The Times where he writes about television and the internet. But before he went to work he founded and worked as editor for the blog TVNewser, which also discussed the television industry. At age 19 he sold his blog to Mediabistro. At age 22. The Times came calling. His work as a popular blogger and internet presence found him a job in an industry that had previously been secluded from the online world.

Many news outlets, big and small, are learning the importance of moving online. Ken Doctor’s Law No. 7 of Newsonomics: Reporters are Bloggers says many papers closing their print editions and only working online stories and posts. The line between a news story and a blog post is quickly blurring and only the most effective of media outlets will succeed in this digital age. If one paper won’t, another will (132). In the digital age, it’s all about what the reader’s want and that’s conversational, easy-to-read pieces that they can interact with. Being told what the news is isn’t good enough any more. People want to have input, be heard, expand. Everyone has an opinion and the internet has made it possible to connect with millions of other people who share yours! There’s no coming back from that amount of freedom, there is only room to adapt to that style of news-telling.

The adaptation to short, conversational writing in the online sector has major potential to affect agenda setting. Agenda Setting Theory suggests that the media creates “what is news” in our minds. Ever heard of the old adage ‘If it bleeds, it leads’? That’s because the news typically prioritizes stories that include death, injury, and/or destruction. They grab attention and the media knows that. The media don’t necessarily tell us what our opinion needs to be, but it definitely sets the agenda for what we think about. With the ability for readers and non-journalistic professionals to insert their opinions, comments, or related topics, the news media doesn’t have as much reign to control what readers as a whole are paying attention to in the world or even locally. The readers listen to and trust other readers before they trust journalists. Also, the tone in which online writers create stories is more conversational. In the age of print news popularity, journalists typically used the inverted pyramid model (giving the facts, the facts, and some more facts in a very serious, methodical way) in order to tell stories. Making pieces more persona calls for more emotional material, and therefore more perceived bias on the part of the blogger and/or journalist.

Brian Stelter

The ability to operate blogs effectively and use other forms of social media is a necessary evil in the industry today. It also gives you an edge over your competition when searching for work. Brian Stelter got an immediate job offer because of this ability. His colleagues, including David Carr, were initially intimidated by him because he was so inept with social media platforms and using them to spread news. Stelter understands that to stay on top in the news industry, the insiders (AKA reporters) need to stay on top of social media. In a quote from the 2011 documentary, Page One: Inside The New York Times, he said:

” I don’t know why anyone who is a reporter isn’t on twitter – I constantly berate my colleagues who aren’t on it. Drives me nuts when hear my colleagues talk about a story at noon, and I read it on twitter at midnight. I’m thinking to myself, why is that allowed? Why are we not on top of the news?”

The same follows for blogging. No doubt, his successful blogging in his teenage years earned him a top spot in one of the most infamous print news companies in the entire world. In knowing how to create good online content whether it be a long blog post or a short tweet, you can ensure your lasting in a news industry that is quickly moving into the online world.


Doctor, K. (2010). Newsonomics: Twelve trends that will shape the news you get. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Rossi, A. (Director) (2011). Page one: Inside the new york times [DVD].


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