I’m known to drift a little off-topic on occasion, but if you would bear with me for a few moments… Earlier this week, the NBR, one of New Zealand’s eminent printed business publications, decided to hide 20% of its content behind a paywall. The announcement carried a derisive tone towards “amateur” media, which has quite naturally raised the ire of many. Personally, I enjoyed the to-and-fro with The NBR over the WeetBix promotion. I’m sure it was to the benefit of both sites.
It’s difficult not to add to Barry Coleman’s “hysteria” characterisation, but Bernard Hickey holds back admirably in this post. He also lays out – with exquisite clarity – 10 points that any online media outlet should read. These points define how we work together in an ecosystem, and the values required to make the most from the network effect of online media.
Among my favourites are one point regarding comment moderation:
[quote]Having a journalist approve or moderate every comment before publication is too expensive and blocks the flow of debate. It is the reason the NZHerald blogs have so few comments despite being very heavily read. Commenters want instant gratification from instant publication and the joy of being part of an active debate.[/quote]
And another regarding the individual focus of your site:
[quote]If we don’t have it first, we simply link to the website that has it. If we can’t find a fresh angle or a way to explain it better to our audience, then we simply don’t cover it or we link to someone else. We know we’re not the only website people look at. Being best for us means being first, fast, accurate, useful and incisive. If we aren’t at least one or two of those things, we don’t waste our time (and our readers’ time) doing the story.[/quote]
On the first point: I don’t moderate comments. I do have an automated spam system. If you ever have any issues with comments not appearing instantly, please let me know, because it usually means something is broken.
On the second point, I could not agree more. When I started blogging for real back in the old days, I felt like I needed to keep up with every possible development in the world of tech. Now I’m much more sanguine. I know that sites like CrunchGear and Engadget have more resources than I could possible marshall. But what they don’t have is me. If you want a constant stream of all the latest tech and gadget news, make sure you subscribe to those sites.
If you like my style, and want a local, personal touch, make sure you subscribe to mine.