Thursday, July 31, 2008

New York Times shows how out of touch it is with bloggers

Ah there's nothing like a good ole old vs. new media struggle. A few days ago, the New York Times published a story on Blog Her, but rankled quite a few bloggers by publishing the story in their Fashion and Style category. Of course the subtle message was that the paper thought that these successful (and female) bloggers belonged in the 'well isn't that cute!' bucket, instead of being taken seriously and placed in the more appropriate Business or Technology sections.

Among the outraged bloggers was Amber Naslund, who blogged about the issue, and reprinted a portion of the letter that she wrote to the NYTimes about the article's tone and placement.

Well it seems a NYTimes editor saw Amber's post, and asked Amber to call her. The editor told Amber that they weren't going to publish her letter as it was, and asked her to edit it if she wanted it to be printed. The problem, according to the editor, was that Amber questioned the article's placement in the Fashion and Style category, and the editor said that wasn't up to her control. Amber explains that:
But she went on to explain that the Times’ sections operate somewhat autonomously, and when one section gets a good story, they would never “give it away” to another section. She said that the section in which a story was placed was not something they “controlled”, but that it was based on which section editor got the story or whom the reporter chose to pitch.

So I guess that means that if Brett Favre comes out of retirement, the NYT sports editor better hope they get the story before the business editor runs it first? Right.

Amber had a very even-handed post that included a blueprint for how the NYT (and other companies) should handle interacting with bloggers. I get the impression that the editor approached this from the point of 'how can I make this go away?'

I've said it here before, but a blogger that's writing about your business is a GOOD thing! You should make every attempt to engage these bloggers and attempt to start a dialogue with them. Sure, some bloggers simply want to rant and 'start trouble', but many have real concerns, and if you will make an honest attempt to reach out to them and sort their issue out, you will often convert an angry blogger into a blogging evangelist for your business.

Anyway, give Amber's post a read, as it definitely gives great advice for companies on how to properly engage and communicate with bloggers. Hopefully a certain NYT editor or two will take its lessons to heart.


Geoff_Livingston said...

I t it the Time out of touch with blogging, or with civil rights? Just a thought. ;) Thanks for calling this out.

Amber Naslund said...


I always enjoy reading your perspective on things. Thanks for adding to the dialogue about this issue. It's underscoring the seismic shift that's taking place in media of all types, and while I know it's an unpopular idea for some people, pointing out the missteps (on both sides!) is the only way to make true, measurable progress.


Words For Hire said...

...and the newspaper industry wonders why readership is declining? Idiots!

Mack Collier said...

I also think a LOT of it has to do with ego. I think the 'old' media in many instances doesn't want to work with 'new' media because they don't think they have to, and probably to some extent they fear 'legitimizing' social media.

It's all very very silly. In 5 years, probably in 2 years, the media landscape will look MUCH different than it does today. Social media isn't going anywhere, but some of the people and businesses that can't accept this, just might.

Connie Reece said...

I think Amber butted up against the culture of arrogance at the NY Times.