Journalist to Blog in Pittsburgh

Print-based hand-wringing over what blogging means for traditional journalism is so 2004, yet the Post-Gazette is still at it. Bob Hoover dips his toe into cyberspace and reveals the following:
Unlike the established media, there are doubts about blogs' accountability, dependability and durability.

Also, outside of their mothers, it's hard to figure out whom these bloggers are targeting.

My blog, however, would be run through the Post-Gazette editing grinder intended to force out rumor, mistakes, innuendo, obscenity, gossip and speculation -- the very stuff that blogs are made of -- and keep the truth and correct grammar.

Sounds pretty boring, doesn't it? Could my dull blog attract any readers in a brave new world of snarky opinions and wild claims?

Well, I have a couple of not-so-snarky opinions and not-wild claims, confining my audience (and subject) to Pittsburgh:

First: There are some fine journalists in the local blogosphere. Check out Potts, Barnes, and Togyer, for starters. And there are an awful lot of other local bloggers who aren't snarky or wild. Stop by the next Blogfest and meet a few. Newspapers have to earn trust just like the next guy, Bob; no one simply takes the New York Times at its word any longer, let alone the Post-Gazette.

Second: Print journalism is indeed under attack today. But the real crisis has nothing to do with the blogosphere, and little to do with trust. The real crisis is that newspaper revenues are drying up as advertising shifts to the Internet. Print-based classified advertising is evaporating slowly. Google bought dMarc Broadcasting the other day, a move that may seem to have little to do with newspapers. In reality, that deal clearly signals that Google is first and foremost an advertising company, and it wants to dominate advertising across all media, not just via online search. Newspapers may get the display ads that Google brokers, not the ads that they sell themselves.

No revenue, no news hole, and eventually no newspaper. Google is part of the Post-Gazette's economy. Get used to it. Eventually, newspapers that don't embrace the Internet and blogging and other kinds of networking will disappear. Embracing the Internet means being willing to share advertising revenue and readers. A readable blog doesn't just have engaging content; a readable blog attracts readers who want to be pointed elsewhere, to other engaging content. I go there because I want to be sent away.

So welcome to the blogosphere, Bob! Don't hoard your readers. We'll read you if you send us away.


6 Responses to "Journalist to Blog in Pittsburgh"

Amos_thePokerCat said... 1/20/2006 1:10 PM

Ya, Google definately is in the ad business. This blog entry of Jason Calacanis, formerly of Silicon Alley Reporter mag, formerly of, via a TWiT CES wrapup podcast, did a 12 point summary of the future according to Googlew.

Jonathan Barnes said... 1/20/2006 1:16 PM

Mike, this is a great post.
Due to the prompting I felt after reading your comments, I have written a short piece on Hoover's column, in which I mention your post.
Here's the link:
Thanks for mentioning my work.

Jonathan Potts said... 1/20/2006 8:05 PM

Thanks. You're not to shabby either, for a lawyer.

Jonathan Potts said... 1/20/2006 8:06 PM

Duh, I meant "too."

What, me fail English? That's unpossible.

Mark Stroup said... 1/21/2006 9:13 AM

Elwin Green's "Welcome to My Homewood" has been on the P-G for a while. Unfortunately, the P-G is a little skittish in providing a comment form and an rss feed. So the editors haven't fully committed to a stricter definition of a blog.

It will be fun to see what develops, except, perhaps, for those people who have a job in the print media plus a mortgage and kids.

Mark Rauterkus said... 1/27/2006 8:23 PM

It is hard to be more negative than Bob Hoover. I had my fill of him when I was on the board with the Three Rivers Publishing Group. Hoover would have never worried about a volleyball or water polo text book -- but he and the P-G put the locals into their meat grinder at every opportunity.

P-Gers blogging -- hummmm.... Ever see the P-G's chat room? So 1993.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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