World of India!: Who is the best copycat of them all? Bloggers or mainstream media? e

World of India!

Fire at will.

Who is the best copycat of them all? Bloggers or mainstream media?

Bloggers are often accused to blaisely lifting material from 'primary' media like magazines, newspapers, T.V and radio and are therefore merely 'derivative'- as described by Malcolm Gladwell, who himself is a blogger but also writes for The New Yorker. Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson quoted Malcolm Gladwell as having said, "Blogs, which are mostly written by amateurs, couldn't possibly do what We Do. Instead, they mostly just comment on what we do, supplying low-value-add chatter about our stories that must not be confused with Proper Journalism or other Quality Content from us Professionals."

I have to say I agree with Gladwell. And like Gladwell says, I don't even think there is something especially bad about being a derivative. As long as I have something independent to say on that 'primary' story and have cited the original reference, I would in fact welcome some one doing all the legwork for me.

But, even Gladwell won't accuse majority of the blogging community, especially not the established ones, for committing plagiarism. Most would almost always link back to the original reference. Alas, the same cannot be said of mainstream 'primary' media. In India for instance, T.V channels routinely fail to name the channel who first broke the story. They will usually maintain a studied silence on the entire story, if they can help it. If the news item has to be mentioned, they will rather die than give credit to their competitor for discovering it. Bloggers on the other hand, almost instinctively, link back to the original source.

And this is not just an Indian disease. Take the example of a recent story NEWSWEEK broke on the health benefits of Resveratrol, in terms of arresting ageing (Issue dtd- Dec11th'06). The story was in fact written by one of the Harvard researchers, who had worked on the project, for NEWSWEEK. CNN (Not CNN-IBN) did a story on the same topic and telecast it in Asia, today. Did they 'link back' to NEWSWEEK, at least in passing? Are you kidding? CNN is part of the TIME Warner group which also has TIME, NEWSWEEK'S arch rival, in its bouquet. They telecast the story as if they had unearthed it.

If international marquee' names like CNN engage in this kind of behavior, why blame the poor little blogger surviving on Google Adsense dole?


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December 25, 2006 5:12 PM

I agree with you. Bloggers are not professional news crew and are not equipped with the gear., finances and contacts to be the first one to get the news. I don't see anything wrong with bloggers spreading news to those who don't follow news that regularly. Adding their own personal comments to the original news actually adds a human side to it and makes it more interesting.    

December 25, 2006 7:00 PM

dude, seems like 'TIME' has 'got it' though, now that it has named 'YOU' & 'ME' the person of the year, largely because of the part we have played as independent social media. And that of course, has bloggers playing an important role.    

December 25, 2006 7:41 PM

I agree with you.The bloggers are the independent voices and some are doing an incredible job.Your example of real media not giving credit to original is so rampant, look at the news channels they all show the same story and all claim its there exclusive.....    

January 12, 2007 1:31 AM

You are absolutely right. With blogs, the news reaches far corners and more importantly people have a take on what they think is valuable information. Most times, news channels are only busy aping each other.    

January 17, 2007 8:10 AM

i have infact noticed Indian media bigwigs stealing writing styles/ issues from Indian bloggers. It is not necessarily bad. As long as all this helps people to think about it indepependently.    

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