“Blogs are often called the ugly stepchild of the media,” said Tina Brown, editor in chief of the popular news aggregator site The Daily Beast, at a recent media relations conference. “But they aren’t. You just have to look for quality.”
Brown herself is an expert at marrying content with images: She was editor of The New Yorker from 1992 to 1998, where she brought the prolific portrait photographer Richard Avedon on staff, launched Talk Magazine, a brief but star-studded monthly glossy and wrote the New York Times bestseller The Diana Chronicles on the late Princess Diana.
It would be hard to argue with Tina’s perspective that the web has always been designed by nerds, not with the visual instincts of an editor. At least not until now, that is. Using The Daily Beast as a reference point, Brown points out that blogs now have both the beauty and the brawn to elbow out traditional media. This is all well and good in an age where having the right information at your fingertips – regardless of who printed it first – is what’s most important to an audience. (One great example Brown mentioned during her talk: Does it really matter to a reader that Rolling Stone broke the story of the recent McChrystal scandal instead of TIME?)
For those of you like me, who worry not just about how our news is distributed but what those trends are doing to the failing ecosystem of print media, Brown has a challenging question. “Are some of the wounds newspapers and magazines currently suffering from self-inflicted? If a publication is owned by a major media conglomerate that squeezes the money out of editorial, then who is at fault?”
It’s hard to say. And while I’m not sure there’s a happy ending in the future of print media, we can be certain of one thing: the bloom is off the rose.
By Isa Loundon