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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

January 29, 2020

The traditional, or pre-Internet, way of news publishing was to get people to come to your publication and consume the content.

Whether it was a newspaper or magazine you subscribed to or picked up up at a news stand, you read articles under the masthead of the newspaper or periodical.

With the advent of the Internet, news publishers mirrored the traditional model. Let’s get as much traffic to our website so we can sell ads or sell subscriptions to content that would otherwise be behind paywalls.

Looking around, we see that carrying the traditional model to the Internet has not worked out well. Other than the New York Times and the Washington Post, I don’t know of any newspapers which are thriving.

The Chicago Tribune, one of the nation’s leading newspapers fifteen years ago, had reporters and editors calling out in a New York Times story this week for people to save them from the tyranny of the private equity firm which acquired the paper and presumably did not favor quality journalism.

LexBlog is in a unique position in that we have tens of thousands of legal columnists publishing on our network. Publishing on their own unique publications.

But when LexBlog thinks of a legal news network, it makes little sense to think of the website as the place where people should consume legal news and commentary.

Hey, it would be great if everyone did come to, but what makes us so special that we’d be exempt from the death news publishers are experiencing with that model. The best we could do is “die better” than other publishers.

LexBlog is closer to Time, Inc., which published over 100 magazine brands, including its namesake Time, Sports Illustrated, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Fortune, People, InStyle, Life, Golf Magazine, Southern Living, Essence, Real Simple, and Entertainment Weekly.

Time Inc. didn’t say, “You know what, we should build a super magazine or website that includes content on travel, the NFL and wine. We have all this content, let’s pull it together and get people reading what they didn’t come looking for.”

LexBlog should be doing everything we can to empower and inspire our publishers – and publications.

If someone in Portland, Maine is looking for great insight and commentary from a caring and experienced professional, they are far more likely to find it on a Maine Workers Compensation Law Blog than a Maine workers compensation blog whose insight is curated at LexBlog. Google and social media will see to it.

LexBlog is a network and a publisher,  and need not be a destination site which tries to get people to drop what they’re reading elsewhere to come to LexBlog to read “our stuff.”

LexBlog can still be the leading publisher of legal insight and commentary, we just don’t have to follow failing business models.

The aggregation and curation of legal news and commentary has value.

It inspires legal professionals to blog or to get started blogging. Hit a button and see all the good workers compensation lawyers blogging across the country, and you get fired up to get started – or to keep going.

A network of professionals, content and publications ensues, all valuable in different ways to legal professionals and the consumers of legal services.

Aggregated and curated network legal content puts LexBlog in the position of being an AP or UPI. We syndicate content to where it is most relevant.

One example is state bar associations using our syndication portal product to shine a light on the blogging lawyers in their state and to build a body of relevant law available to lawyers and the public.

Another example is making this legal insight and related data available to legal research and AI companies. Again, this gets legal content out where it is most relevant. Expecting legal professionals to leave such solutions and come over to a central legal periodical or site doesn’t make sense.

Another example of why aggregation/curation, and there are countless more, is social media. Is LexBlog better to emphasize publishing aggregated content on its website or to emphasize publishing such content on social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? It’s possible it’s the latter.

I haven’t figured this whole Internet publishing thing out. I am not sure anyone has.

My gut tells me though not try to emulate those publishers who have failed, or are failing. To try something different – to focus on the power of the network looking do to all we can to inspire and empower the independent publishers.

In addition to the publishers having effective and attractive publications, we inspire them and syndicate their content to where it is most relevant.

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