Louis Gray is rightfully pissed off at the way Mashable, a major tech blog, did not properly handle some stories written by Gray. Basically they under-attributed Gray’s reporting of Robert Scoble’s PodTech departure. I’m not familiar enough with Mashable to know if Gray is reasonable to suggest that they’ve built the whole site on this type of secondary reporting, but I certainly agree that blogs are now doing what mainstream media has done for decades – sacrificing good quality reporting in the interest of monetization. Also I think the great and thoughful voices of several big blogs have been largely replaced by marginal writers and writing as those sites struggle to become “media companies”.
Another defect of the new web is that linking practices and linking strategy have become very critical to success – A list sites simply don’t link out appropriately because they (correctly) view their links as valuable and (incorrectly) choose not to give that value away.
Matt’s got a good post on this story, noting how attribution is a cornerstone of good journalism and Mashable and others should do a better job of attribution, though I’m not clear if Matt would agree that insufficient linking is part of opportunistic linking strategies more than journalistic oversight:
I wrote over there:
…. but monetization is trumping journalism all over the place and I think the blog community should think about this a lot more than we do.
I don’t know about Mashable’s practices, but often it is marginally paid and marginally talented writers who feed the big blogs that originally had really thoughtful voices.
Also, natural linking has effectively become a “web currency” and many “A list” sites are very reluctant to link to sites outside of their frames of reference – I believe they see it as too big of a favor where even 5 years back it would have been done without a second thought.
I see this as a growing problem with many large, heavily monetized tech blogs. They are (slowly) trading profit concerns for journalism and web concerns. An inevitable thing, but a bad one