Journalists, Bloggers, and Cars
I spend a lot of time talking to writers about the industry, and one issue I run across a lot is the idea that certain stories are more valuable than others. That being, a story about a car and a reporter will almost always do better than a story about a car and a blogger. Why? I think the difference comes down to the fact that people prefer to read about things they can relate to. I’ve always thought that to be the case, used cars in sacramento though I always wondered if it was true. Turns out I was right.
A survey conducted by Top Gear‘s sister show Drive, found that 61% of people like reading about cars, 40% like reading about their own cars. The reasoning behind that is that it helps the consumer feel a bit more connected with the product, which of course, will lead to higher sales.
So you would think that journalists would be the ones to pick up on the fact that readers are reading about cars, not bloggers. After all, we are more likely to know that than our fellow passengers. No? Apparently not. I’m not sure if this is a case of journalists and bloggers being fundamentally different kinds of people, or that journalists are just far more sophisticated at social media than most people think, but it doesn’t seem like there are enough journalists and bloggers on Twitter to ever even register the disconnect.
For instance, the New York Times didn’t notice there was a disconnect between its readers and its writers until recently. The reason? When journalists go to Twitter, the most important person there is their audience, not the other way around.
The Times found this out the hard way when they started analyzing the Twitter feeds of their writers. They noticed a number of journalists were tweeting stories about other people’s cars, used cars in sacramento a number of which were posted on the NYT’s own site. At first, the Times thought the people tweeting were lying, but it turns out that is exactly what they were. Even worse, these “lie-twitters” didn’t just talk about people’s cars; they talked about other bloggers’ cars.
As the Times points out, ““Each of those communications had “reached” several Times reporters, including the person in the car and the person who posted the information.” That’s right, the NYT is paying these guys for their services and then publishing what they say. This is the kind of thing that happens at colleges and fraternities, but you don’t hear about it often.
Despite the bad press, the NYT still sees a use for the new recruits. “Even as news organizations have sought to distance themselves from “citizen journalists” and technology has blurred the lines between fact and rumor, these “reporters” have remained an important part of the equation, providing a distinctive voice to complement the Times’ own reporting and analysis.”