Journalist blogs trump traditional articles in Google

You might think that journalist blogs are just a side-kick to their regular paper or online columns, but Google disagrees. These 13 Swedish journalists might soon be better known for their blogs than for their traditional journalistic achievements. In 11 out of 13 cases, a Google search for their names delivers their blogs as number one.

Andreas Ekström – #1
Lotta Gröning – #1
Cecilia Hagen – #1
Håkan Jacobson – #1
Linna Johansson – #3 (this blog has been up just one week, with the exception of one initial post a month ago)
Helle Klein – #1
Olof Lundh – #1
PM Nilsson – #1
Anders Nunstedt – #1
Linda Skugge – #2 (#1 is her personal webpage)
Per Svensson – #1
Ebba von Sydow – #1
Fredrik Virtanen – #1

It is a remarkable development since most of these journalists have been writing for years, but blogging only for a couple of months, or even weeks, but already blogs play the first violin in their digital repertoire. Now, a few questions arise. First, are the texts they publish on their blogs the kind of journalistic product they want to have as their primary association? Some who question the quality of these blogs would say ‘no’, although there are blogs on that list that I read with great interest. Second, is there a way to exploit this phenomenon? Of course there is, and opportunities may even be greater for the journalists than for the media.

A well written blog may even lead to a situation where “some newspaper reporters [will become] better known in some circles for their blogs than for their printed work” to quote Tim Porter. He makes a comparison between the music industry and the media industry. He claims there is a shift from ‘the music business’ to the ‘musician business’ in that consumers gladly pay 100 bucks for a concert ticket but are reluctant to pay 19 bucks for a CD. He quotes the New Yorker: “In the musician business, the assets that once made the major labels so important – promotion, distribution, shelf space – matter less than the assets that belong to the artists, such as their ability to perform live. The value of songs falls, and the value of seeing an artist sing them rises, because the experience can’t really be reproduced.”

What if the journalism business is developing into a journalist business, if journalism produces a commodity we don’t want to pay for but original writing is worth much more? He continues:

“If news is commodity, then in-depth reporting has value. If routine government coverage offers nothing but stenography, then interpretive reporting has value. If the conventions of traditional journalism produce bland and boring copy, then personality and point of view have value. If newspapers have become disconnected from community, then relationships between writer and reader have value.”

Blogs are by nature an excellent channel for building relationships, being personal and interpreting news and events. By exploiting their talents journalists can become thought leaders in their own right. So a question goes out to journalist bloggers – will you seize the opportunity to extend your brand beyond the medium who currently hires you, or are you satisfied with being the journalist who writes about taking the bike to work?