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Traditional media adapting to citizen journalism opens doors for lawyers

Doc Searles has a lengthy piece this morning on how traditional media is ‘adapting’ to citizen journalism.

If you follow this stuff like me, Doc’s post is not to be missed. He pulls from various experts and their opinions of where we’re headed. Read between the lines and you can see the opportunities for lawyers to network via PR.

Doc is well beyond the issue of whether citizen journalism is going to have an impact. It’s more an issue of how traditional media can leverage citizen journalism. And to me, how blogging lawyers and law firms can leverage traditional media’s acceptance of content/citizen journalism from the public.

Got to read the whole post, but wanted to mention a few items.

I agree with Frank Beacham, who warns “Beware of news organizations that think they can replace professionals with citizen-made free content.”

Reporters and the press are skilled and experienced professionals. Citizen journalism is not a rip and replace for traditional media. But we can complement it. And in so doing, we get the wide audiences those existing media all ready have.

Dan Kennedy is right on in his assessment that we’re not to be used like pawns.

…Corporate media executives who genuinely want to use citizen-media tools to build community and experiment with new business models will be rewarded for their efforts.

But those who think they can profit by suckering amateurs into giving away their content will soon discover that what they’ve created a host of new competitors.

What’s in it for lawyers? Sharing content with the traditional media, via the doors they’re opening to citizen journalist bloggers. As Howard Owens says:

If people didn’t get something out of their contributions, they wouldn’t write, shoot and submit. Not all compensation is monetary. MSM companies that make available a distribution channel for UGC [mainstream media] assume the financial risk associated with the effort (a risk not shared by contributors), and provide a valuable service to contributors looking to reach a wider audience than might be available to a solo act. Yes, MSM getting into UGC [user generate content] are hoping that the effort will generate audience, and hence revenue, but it’s a complete misunderstanding of the economics of the matter to say the whole process is just a rip off. You’ve got to start some place, and maybe some day UGC will generate sufficient revenue to justify monetary compensation for contributors, but for most newspapers still incubating UGC, that just isn’t possible right now.

And as Doc concludes, traditional media wins by accepting us citizen journalist bloggers.


Established media institutions have enormous advantages. But they can’t use them if they continue to live in denial of the nature of their new world — and of the interests, talents and natural independence of the other inhabitants there.

Lawyers, you are citizen journalists. By blogging, you’re reporting on niche areas that traditional media can simply not cover. Who’s going to regularly cover Kansas City divorce law, California biotech law, New York probate litigation, or anti-counterfeiting & piracy law? Bloggers who are experts in those areas whose compensation for contributing content is not money, but as Howard Owens says, “to reach a wider audience than might be available to a solo act.”

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