Are part-time bloggers stealing professional media’s mojo?

by Jon Thompson on January 16, 2009

Aaron Jackson lived on a golf course in Destin before he began sleeping on the floor of a smoky homeless shelter.

Aaron Jackson lived on a golf course in Destin before he began sleeping on the floor of a smoky homeless shelter.

I just received a very interesting email from Jose Duran, the Web Editor for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times.  In it Jose mentions that Aid Worker Daily readers might be interested in the one of their feature stories and provided a link to ‘With the help of Rainn Wilson, Aaron Jackson tries to cure a country’.  The story talks about a 27 year old named Aaron Jackson who started an organization called Planting Peace.  One of the organization’s main goals is to help rid Haiti of parasitic diseases.  Along the way luminaries such as Rainn Wilson of the television show The Office have offered to help.

What I find most fascinating about the email is that I am not sure if Jose Duran is just a well intentioned individual, which I am sure he is, and only thought that AWD readers might be interested in the story.  Or, if this is also a form of guerilla marketing with the ultimate goal being to drive traffic to the New Times site.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful that Jose thought of Aid Worker Daily and that he took the time to send the link, but I am also wondering if this is also a sign that blogging has begun to steal market share from professional media organizations to such an extent that homespun sites like mine warrant a cross post.  I’ve watched as Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch, Matt Marshall at VentureBeat and the folks over at Engadget and Gizmodo have single-handedly cornered the tech market from major media players and while I am sure Walt Mossberg‘s (WSJ) and David Pogue‘s (NYT) numbers are safe I don’t think they can compete with the readership over at the other sites.

I don’t mean to sound grandiose, or in any way to belittle the good natured efforts of Jose Duran, I just can’t help but wonder (out loud) if the little group of humanitarian bloggers I belong to might not be a new market sector/marketing outlet for current events, human interest and international affairs stories coming from professional media.  I know my traffic always spikes when humanitarian events occur and I realize that we have the advantage of having been there, and maybe still having friends out there that can tie us in to some good stories, but don’t we still rely on professional media for our news?  Or, are we now part of professional media?  If so, you all should know I only took one journalism class and that was in high school which means it was ages ago.

There is a new aggregation trend ocuring where our posts/sites are getting picked-up by higher level sites.  As long as they attribute work I see them as an integral part of the symbiotic relationship which I have begun to realize exists amongst bloggers.  There is certainly a social code of conduct and if it is observed and adhered to you end up becoming part of a bigger collective full of exceptional people.  So far, I have seen mostly good things come from it.  However, Jose’s kindhearted, Friday afternoon email could also be the opening move in a much more extensive relationship which, until now, I have only observed.

I don’t think Rick Sanchez and his constant drive to get more followers on Twitter is indicative of the more subtle melding that is taking place between media and bloggers.  Nor do I think that iReport is going to be the challenger that CNN think it will although I think it is starting to get some good traffic.  What seems reasonable to be is that the links and linkbacks between media and blogging will increase (let’s face it, comments are free advertising) and while we need professional media to power our stories it may prove true that professional media also needs us to power their stories.  I welcome the expanded network and hope that more folks like Jose Duran see the value in a freindly email.  Hopefully, I just drove a little traffic his way.

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