The "Blog Chat" video series on Texas Watchdog started out as an informative overview of some daily content for Houston's local blogs, sort of a video version of a link-post if you will. With multimedia journalist Lynn Walsh on board, the excellent news organization has promised to make video reports such as this an increasingly large part of their content.
Barely a month into the project and Mainstream media sources are dominating the video cast. Let's take a look at today's stories and their sources....
1. jail overcrowding: Off the Kuff and Grits for breakfast - (That's one for blogs. Granted, both blogs linked to held the same position, but that's probably more due to local Righty blogs surrendering the local turf to the InterLeft.)
2. Metro's financial malfeasance: Chron.com Mike Snyder and KHOU & Mark Greenblatt. (Well, that's one linking to other paid journalists, birds of a feather etc. MSM 1 Blogs 1)
3. The latest Rasmussen Poll: Texas Tribune, Evan Smith (Texas Tribune is not a blog, they're an on-line, advocacy journalism agency that's doing a good job covering the State. There was a LOT of blog material on this one. MSM 2 Blogs 1)
4. High Fees for Sarah Palin: Star-telegram - (No I wouldn't pay that much money to hear Sarah Palin FWIW. However, the S-T is decidedly a MSM outlet and NOT a blog. MSM 3 Blogs 1)
5. NASA Funding: Chron.com - (Important story but certainly not a blog. MSM 4 Blogs 1)
6. Buffalo Bayou Dredging: Chron.com - (+1 for MSM. MSM 5 Blogs 1)
7. What to do this weekend: Texas Tribune. (It's a whitewash....MSM 6 Blogs 1)
I bring this up NOT to poke fun at Texas Watchdog, I consider them to be doing some of the best journalism in town, what I'm trying to highlight is how tall the wall is for local blogs to sustain the interest of journalists working for an MSM outlet. (Yes, I consider non-profit web outlets to be MSM, most of their employees worked for newspapers or TV stations at one time, or went to journo school.)
Certainly all of the stories highlighted were important stories, they were timely, relevant and *gasp* local in nature. They also did something that the blogosphere frequently does not: They broke new ground. Well, except for the first one, the Kuff story that was really just a blockquote of the Grits post which riffed on a Chron.com story on jail overcrowding.
This is meant to take nothing away from Scott Henson and his terrific blog focused on Texas Criminal Justice. He's doing what all good blogs do (for the most part) he's taking a story that originally ran in an MSM source and expounding on it. Hell, that's what I'm doing in this post. As one person with a 7-5 job I don't have the resources to go out and break new news, so I rely on other sources to provide the articles that drive content. That, in a nutshell, is blogging. (opposed to reporting, which actually takes skill)
It's the problem that limits blogs to niche status no matter how hard they try to self-promote. Some bloggers, who work and play well with the journalists, may be incorporated into the mainstream to some level, but they're never going to be stand-alone content drivers. This means that, in order to be fair, video news reviews like those on Texas Watchdog are better served quoting the original story.
Either that or they're just not reading local blogs. In which case forget all of the previous bloggy-style navel gazing and move along. Nothing to see here.