Why Do Bloggers Think That ‘Old Media’ Rules Don’t Apply To Them?

Two stories have spread like wildfire around the blogosphere over the last couple of days. The first one was Sony’s decision to remove Kotaku from its favoured sources because Kotaku leaked a rumour after Sony asked them not to, and the second accusing Wired of deliberately trying to make Digg look bad, because it is owned by Conde Naste who also happen to own Reddit.

What I found really hard to understand is why so many bloggers were so incensed by these stories. In the ‘old media’ world neither of these stories would have created any ripples. In the case of the Sony Vs Kotaku story, what exactly did Sony do that was so wrong? All they asked from Kotaku was some discretion about leaking Sony stories, in return for Sony continuing to grant Kotaku access to its inner sanctum. This is a common practice in old media where reporters are regularly asked not to break certain news, in return for gaining access to potentially even bigger scoops in the future. I’m not saying that Kotaku were wrong to break the rumour, but I feel that they should have accepted the consequences more gracefully.

In the case of Wired/Reddit/Conde Nast Vs Digg story, I thought it was very sad that many bloggers including the highly respected Michael Arrington would even dare to question the integrity of a respected publication such as Wired.

As Valleywag quite rightly point out, Conde Nast is such a vast organisation that the majority of the time the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, so it is highly unlikely that a co-ordinated ‘slur campaign’ could even be orchestrated. The author of the offending Wired article has posted an article on her personal blog which explains exactly this point. At the time of writing it had just received 40 diggs, so I guess anytime now she is unfortunately going to hit the Digg homepage and will surely suffer from the full wrath of Digg users.

Imagine if this story had been The Times Newspaper who are part of News International who also own BSkyB, publishing a bad story or feature about one of BSkyB’s competitors like Virgin Media or BT. Do you think Virgin Media or BT would be complaining about foul play? Do you think anyone would have even mentioned the connection?

I love the way that blogs give individuals a way to communicate their personal views to a large audience in a way never before possible, but the blogosphere really needs to become more responsible about what it does with this power.

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5 Responses to Why Do Bloggers Think That ‘Old Media’ Rules Don’t Apply To Them?

  1. me March 2, 2007 at 7:58 pm #

    I love the way that blogs give individuals a way to communicate their personal views to a large audience in a way never before possible, but the blogosphere really needs to become more responsible about what it does with this power.

    why does it need to be responsible? why can’t it just be what it is? u r way too pretentious mate

  2. Tim March 2, 2007 at 8:02 pm #

    In the example of Kotaku VS Sony. Kotaku knew that they could get away with leaking the rumour and remain free from blackballing. They could count on the support of the internet and probably already knew that simply by publishing what sony had said they would get access back. And if they can do that why shouldn’t they. Bloggers (well large ones like Kotaku) have more power than old media simply because they have this fanatical fan base that will pressure any opponent they have into submission. This allows them to be better press outlets than old media and give more to the fanbase who serve them so well.

  3. Musiq March 2, 2007 at 8:20 pm #

    Kotaku knew that they could get away with leaking the rumour and remain free from blackballing. They could count on the support of the internet and probably already knew that simply by publishing what sony had said they would get access back. And if they can do that why shouldn’t they.

    I agree that they could do this. But did they have to present Sony in such a negative way? All they did was whip everyone up into a frenzy with people threatening to boycott Sony and crap like that

  4. Mosey March 3, 2007 at 5:43 pm #

    Kotaku knew that they could get away with leaking the rumour and remain free from blackballing. They could count on the support of the internet and probably already knew that simply by publishing what sony had said they would get access back. And if they can do that why shouldn’t they.

    I agree too.

    After reading through Kotaku’s version of events and some other links provided in this article, I can’t help but think Kotaku is acting like a spoilt child. Just because Sony asked them to not publish a rumour and they went ahead, they then scream at everyone about how unfair it was that they couldn’t have their ‘sweets’ (interviews/exclusive information etc.) Does Kotaku seriously think that its their absolute right to be granted such access?

    Also, do Sony always ask them to not publish rumours? I highly doubt it. It seems this was a special case and I believe Kotaku would have done well to take it on board.

    They of course have the upper-hand in having a big ‘active’ fan community and a fast news stand. This scenario effectively appears to be where person ‘A’ commits some crime and brags about it to their ‘crew’ (aka. fan base) so as to justify any wrong doing. Sony can hardly be expected to make a press release about one blog site (however small or large) to defend their position.

    Sony lose no integrity points at the end of this incident but Kotaku has definitely lost many imho.

  5. billg March 4, 2007 at 3:59 pm #

    Well said. It is hypocritical for some to cheer the prospect of organized blogger taking their revenge on Sony, Wired etc., while condemning them for protecting their own interests.

    It appears Kotaku broke the agreement they made with Sony. The real lesson in this is simple: Don’t trust Kotaku. Consider: If you ran a popular blog and Kotaku approached you about a similar arrangement, would you rush into it without thinking about how they broke their word with Sony?

    The real lesson about the Wired flap is this: Why do bloggers who don’t declare their own financial and business interests have standing to condemn businesses who do make that information public? When a blogger tells me “This rules, That sucks”, how can I be certain he’s not trying to sway opinion toward a business whose stock he owns? How do I know he’s not on someone’s payroll? There’s nothing magical about using blogging software to publish that makes that publisher immune from greed and desire.

    Finally, the comment from “me” that asks why bloggers need to be responsible, calling it “pretentious”, trashes every blogger who tries to act as a responsibile adult. If “me” is expressing a common opinion, perhaps all those folks can identify themselves so the rest of us can blacklist and ignore them.