Sunday, July 8, 2012

Paper circulation beats blog analytics

Now that I blog regularly, I decided to revisit a poem that I submitted a few years ago to the Lake County Arts Council website. Originally written in 2006, the poem addressed people who actively blog (or otherwise electronically distribute their work) but never submit letters to the newspaper.

Biased Media: An Argument

“Media bias” has nothing to do
with your absence from the first draft of history.
Was it “media bias” that prompted you,
once you had set up your blog,
to cease writing letters to the editor?
And is it “media bias” that restricts your writing
to the members of your yahoo group
or your e-mail address book?
Newspapers don’t censor the opinions
of people who refuse to share them,
who entrench themselves and limit their reach
to the members of their cyber-cocoon.
Stop blaming the “media bias”
and look in the mirror instead.
Copyright © August 2006 by Cynthia M. Parkhill
To start with, I like blogging. I like it a lot. And the librarian in me loves the subject tags that make my entries accessible:
“bias,” “blogging,” “censorship,” “communication,” “email,” “hashtags,” “journalism,” “Lake County Arts Council,” “Lake County Record-Bee,” “letters to the editor,” “MediaNews Group,” “newspapers,” “poetry,” “Twitter.”
Any and all of these access points will direct readers to this entry in my blog.

Back in 2006 I wrote the poem because I was aware that people communicated among their own entrenched groups but appeared to have no interest in engaging with a larger community.

Even more troubling were people who claimed that “biased media” refused to print their views when there was no evidence that they had ever submitted a letter to the local papers’ newsrooms.

I thought then that people should make use of the forums that are provided via local media. In 2012, an active blogger myself, I still hold to this view.

Because as much as I like blogging, my site analytics show a very small audience compared to people who read the print edition of the Lake County Record-Bee. Media News Group circulation figures for the Record-Bee show an average circulation of 6,291, citing ABC FAS-FAX circulation averages for six months ending Sept. 30, 2009.

In comparison my most widely-accessed post,“I edit for people-first language”, drew 132 views. The next most widely-accessed posts were “Evaluation role is natural for curation team” with 85 views and “Useful questions for information literacy” with 81.

(These posts are unique because they were part of a collective online dialogue. Hashtag use and influential re-tweeters helped to boost their views.)

So Record-Bee print circulation clearly has my blog site analytics beat.

Factor in the Record-Bee website, which publishes letters to the editor, and how many more thousands of people will read my submissions than if I only blog?

So even though I am now an active blogger, I continue to believe that people who blog should also submit writings to the media. The local news source may decline to print my submission, in which case there is still my blog -- but it may accept it, in which case how many more readers with whom to engage in dialogue?

Published July 17, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

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