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User generated content causes CNN layoffs : Opportunity for lawyer blogs?

November 14, 2011

David Kaplan (@davidaKaplan) of paidContent reported last Friday that CNN is cutting dozens of editorial jobs following a three-year review of its “workflow” operations.

According to a memo from CNN SVP Jack Womack, technology and user generated content has made the network a little less reliant on editorial staffers, particularly photojournalists.

CNN’s review found that user-gen, through CNN iReport, and social media in general did a fine enough job in producing and distributing breaking news stories. The review also looked at how the number of stories across broadcast, online and mobile tend to correspond during various dayparts.

This follows CNN’s recent acquisition of Zite, an iPad application that learns about readers’ tastes and customizes a digital magazine with stories from blogs and news sites.

Good law blogs already generate regular calls from reporters and other media. I’m repeatedly told by LexBlog Network members how often they’re called by reporters for quotes or for sourcing.

You can expect the next level of law blogs and mainstream media to be mainstream media editors curating content from lawyers’ blogs. This law blog content will then complement original reporting from the mainstream media.

Law is at the heart and soul of America’s consumer rights, business, and commerce. Legal news and commentary draws significant attention from readers and viewers of mainstream media. Huge attention when there’s a breaking or high profile story involving the law.

Who better than practicing lawyers with passion and expertise in a niche who are already reporting and offering commentary through blogging? Reporters and editors may have better journalistic and writing skills, but they cannot match a lawyer’s insight and knowledge.

Consumers online are coming to expect better, more insightful, and more timely information and insight. The quality of the format/delivery and a long time brand that mainstream media may bring are not as important. Just look at Skype, YouTube, and blogs being consumed directly or via mainstream media already.

Lawyers already blogging well and those many lawyers who will turn to blogging can expect their content to become an increasing part of mainstream and trade publication news.