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.
Read the final part: Discussion and conclusion.
Has blogging affected your relationship with readers, listeners or viewers? Let me know in the comments.
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Hi Paul, Only just picked up on your blog and the fascinating survey you've been carrying out (barring a minor quibble about what the difference between enormously and completely is). I'd have loved to have participated. I've found the whole experience of shifting from print to online (ie. blogging, networking and forums) a very liberating and illuminating one. The blinkers are well and truly removed. A blog becomes at various points a news source, a discussion, experimenting with ideas, a rant, a diary and a sounding board for ideas. It's part of a breaking down of barrier that I see happening in the media industries, both in terms of the relationship with our audience and the way we internally stucture ourselves (blurring distinctions between job roles and departments such as marketing sales and editorial). My relationship with my audience is much closer now and I've built close contacts through blogging. The only risk you run is becoming too involved, so losing some objectivity as a journalist. Keep up the good work. Phil
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Thank so much for you so much for your informative survey, I really enjoyed reading through each part, and made notes to come back and visit when my blog is up an running. I never new there was so much thought put into gathering information before writing an article. This survey has defiantly enlightened me and will consider the different methods mentioned through out the survey.
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