The Idaho Daily Statesman removed the link to IRN from its blog page. Is it something I said? They took the link off the day after we were the first to report about the 10% pay cut…. so apparently the answer is yes.
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I think it was Patrick Henry who said something about (paraphrased) “While I may disagree with what you say I will defend to my death your right to say it.” Move forward some 250 years and the end of the sentence reads “…..unless we’re a newspaper with extremely thin skin that can’t deal with criticism…” My how times and convictions have changed.
What are they trying to accomplish? Do they think that they can keep the news from getting out? Are they trying to punish Don? Do you only get a link from the Statesman if you play by its rules? Is this an attempt to apply pressure to the blogging community?
The problem is that the answer to some of these questions is probably, in some limited sense, yes. And that reflects an old media dinosaur that insists on playing by the old rules. In the old days, the Statesman was one of a handful of media voices in the valley and was able to control the dialogue based on what it printed.
The game doesn’t work that way anymore. Anyone with an Internet connection can get their news and views published. But the Statesman and other newspapers are in the precarious position they are in because they just can’t adapt to the new reality. They refuse to acknowledge that the rules of the game have changed.
A newspaper’s Web site has to be many things now: A source of information. A community portal. A place to find differing viewpoints. A vibrant community of users. A marketplace.
And yet the Statesman, in its own limited way, is trying to stifle a viewpoint and restrict access to a valuable community resource. And thus harming their own Web site.
They just don’t get it. This is a small instance, but it’s telling nonetheless. Whether they are trying to restrict the flow of news about their financial problems (which they can’t do) or whether they are trying to punish Idaho Radio News.com (which they can’t do), they are instead only hurting themselves. The Statesman needs to be doing everything it can to build up the Web site. Every local resource should be linked. They should be proposing a partnership with every local blogger they can name. They should encourage a vibrant community on their Website. Instead, they’re doing the opposite. Again, it’s a small instance. But it’s revealing.
Don, Kudos to you for getting the truth out there. And for not being afraid to report on the media of Boise.
And to the Statesman: This former employee is embarrassed for you.
The Seattle PI is drawing from newspapers and Blogs throughout the Northwest, now, using sources for news they would never have considered until they went online only. These relationships were well considered, knowing that the politics involved would make a difference in the online quality in the long run. Its entirely possible that they will have a much better product than their competition – the Seattle Times. The Times, if they do go all online will be playing catchup, which, in a competitive market is not the place to be.
Where I’m going with this is simple. The Statesman appears to be cutting its political throat when it comes to local news sources and community support when the demands of the readership market force a change – and they will. The Statesman no longer has the deep pockets it once enjoyed and the leverage that level of financing can produce.
I learned one important lesson when I was in show business: Be nice to the people going up, because you will meet them going down.
Long after the Statesman has bitten the dust, or transformed itself into a new media format…Idaho Radio News and the concept of a free and independent media blog like IRN will still exist…
As someone who wants every newspaper in the country to survive — whether that is with a hybrid electronic/print presentation or online only — this is disappointing.
First, no newspaper in the country should be trying to bully a blogger, at least not one with a solid track record of accurately breaking news, offering reasoned opinion, and moderating a diverse community of users. Newspapers stand for the freedom of the press. They shouldn’t be trying to bully other writers. That is unacceptable.
Second, it shows that they just don’t get it. Under the rules of the old media, a newspaper, a few TV stations, and a radio station or two ruled the world. Those rules were fun, and the Statesman prospered, but that game is over. Anyone who insists on continuing to play under that rulebook is fighting a battle that they’ve already lost. No one — the Statesman, KTVB, Boise State Radio, NewWest.net, whoever — can afford to antagonize the vibrant community of independent writers that has sprung up.
Instead, in the new world, you have to acknowledge that each town is going to have hundreds of different voices — and eventually the influence of those new voices will grow to rival the established media outlets. Instead of ignoring them, you need to build partnerships. If I owned the Statesman, I’d be proposing a partnership with Idaho Radio News.com, not blacklisting it. The Statesman should be friends with any blogger that provides unique, worthwhile information and has an active community of users. Some of the hundreds of blogs out there would welcome the possibility of a partnership with the Statesman.
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