Friday, February 2, 2007

Journalistic Suicide or Blog Assimilation?

First Ever Pharma Blogosphere Survey!Matthew Holt, the "chap" that runs The Healthcare Blog, recently wrote this piece welcoming -- with faint praise, I must say -- BrandweekNRX to the pharma blogosphere:

"Some of the best reporting on the pharma business in the last few years has come not from the mainstream press but from Jim Edwards, a reporter buried in the marketing industry trade press at Brandweek. Given the fact that certain Manhattan-based major press publications could use to improve their pharma and health care journalism (and I’m not talking about the WSJ, think more of dogs and sores [he means the NY Times]!), I was hoping and expecting to get an email one day from Jim telling me of his new gig.

"But instead, he’s decided to not only stay at BrandWeek but also to commit journalistic suicide and become one of us."

Holt suggests that Jim has torpedoed his own career. I beg to differ! (Of course!)

As you delve into the pharma blogosphere, you will find a few categories of bloggers or blogger goals, including insiders/whistle blowers (eg, PharmaGossip, Dr. Peter Rost), corporate PR (PharmaEdge, HealthcareVOX), and journalists (BrandweekNRX, Pharma Marketing Blog, Pharmalot).

Don't give me any grief if I haven't gotten this correct -- it's a work in progress and I will have a better analysis later. The main point is that the pharma blogosphere started with insiders, followed by journalists, and then by the corporate PR types (by which I mean people whose main business is consulting, etc., but not publishing).

I think traditional journalists such as Jim Edwards and Ed Silverman, a veteran journalist for The Star-Ledger of New Jersey who started Pharmalot, have been bottled up for so long in their corporate shell that they need to have their true voices heard. They just are fed up with the journalistic niceties that do not allow them to describe things the way they really are -- or at least how they think it really is.

I know that's how I felt when I started Pharma Marketing Blog. I also publish Pharma Marketing News and insert my commentary in the Up Front piece. Even so, I feel that I cannot insert my voice too often in the articles. Because, if I did, the newsletter would be about me, not the issues.

Jim Edwards and Ed Silverman probably feel the same way.

But finding and broadcasting your voice through blogging is not the only goal that journalists have. The editors and publishers they answer to must believe that the blogs will help sell their publications. So, far from committing journalistic suicide, journalist bloggers are enhancing their careers and even changing what journalism is all about.

Either blogs are changing journalism or journalism is assimilating blogs. Which is it?

Inquiring minds want to know!

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