The 6th part of the results of my survey of blogging journalists looks at how blogging has affected the relationship with the former audience.
Of all areas covered by the survey the relationship with the audience was by far the most affected, with over half of respondents saying it had been “enormously” or “completely” changed. In particular, journalists felt they had developed a more personal relationship with the reader, who was no longer an anonymous figure.
“They know about my personal life, and I know about theirs” (Respondent 23, US, newspapers).
As a consequence, journalists felt more pressure to be accountable to their readers, and less “arrogant”. There was a need to make themselves understood; to explain their decisions in the face of increased and more personal feedback from a community they feel part of.
Interactivity and “conversation” were frequently mentioned:
“I cover more than thirty countries: the reaction of people who live in a place I visit tells me a lot about the issues I am writing about. My blog seems to generate arguments which at least help me understand a story more.” (Respondent 156, Belgium, TV)
“The best stories are a result of incredible conversations.” (Respondent 60, US, freelance)
For some that has led to a newfound sense of respect for readers; for others, a realisation that readers were “total idiots” (Respondent 54, US, newspapers) or had poorer comprehension than they had assumed.
Journalists also identified a change in how they saw other bloggers, subscribing to more blogs and commenting or participating in discussion more often.
Commercial and bureaucratic advantages were also identified: being able to answer comments in public rather than the same question via emails in private saved time for some, while others respondent mentioned the ability to maintain the audience relationship between publication dates, or to attract work from employers.
Has blogging affected your relationship with readers, listeners or viewers? Let me know in the comments.