Paying Attention

On Friday, the Great Falls Tribune conducted one of their daily online polls with a question about political bloggers. This was a follow-up to the Associated Press story and their “investigation” into a political blog called Montana Cowgirl.

The Tribune asked: “Do you pay attention to political bloggers who don’t identify themselves?”

The results were published in Saturday’s paper. With 501 people voting, 92% said they did not pay attention to political bloggers who don’t identify themselves and 8% said they did.

I voted. I was part of the 8%.

The Tribune also has a section on their website for people to leave comments about the questions. It’s called a “Forum” section. People with the names of Rainbow, Bigsky, wbill, and Cowcud (to name a few) all left comments about the Tribune forum question.

I guess you can be anonymous on the Great Falls Tribune website and most other media websites and leave comments…about anonymous bloggers. Ironic.

Of course, the Tribune would leave you to believe these are just “screen names” and they know who these people really are. Sure you do – just like you know the person who signed/submitted the letter to the editor actually wrote it…

Competition always heats up between bloggers and the mainstream media especially during the political season.

Using this blog and Twitter, I routinely beat most Montana mainstream media in getting results posted from past elections using information from various websites around the country. The first thing is that you have to know about politics – something most Montana media outlets are lacking in their personnel department.

Newspapers are also having major problems with some bloggers beating them in “hard” news coverage.

Some newspapers, like the Tribune, have even joined the blogging world. You can have your own blog courtesy of the Great Falls Tribune, where you can sign up anonymously (just have a valid e-mail address). Some editors and reporters are even blogging which can create a dilemma for them if they get too personal with their thoughts about issues they should be neutral about.

Like I have said before – the mainstream media can’t really beat the bloggers…so they are joining us in the blogging world (some say they are treading on our territory). Bloggers (anonymous or not) make the mainstream media bring their “A” game to the world of journalism (if they have an “A” game) – and that is a good thing for all of us.

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