By Eric Auchard
A syndication service that delivers commentary from 600 bloggers for
use by newspaper publishers is set to launch on Tuesday, further
blurring the lines that divide blogs and mainstream media.
BlogBurst, as the service from blog technology company Pluck Corp. is
known, includes headlines and articles for use by newspaper publishers
in the news or feature sections of their online services, as well as
Pluck initially has signed up Gannett Co. Inc., Washington Post Co.,
San Francisco Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman and San Antonio
Express. Eventually, the Austin, Texas-based company will offer
BlogBurst editorial materials to niche business and overseas
Newspapers are looking to BlogBurst to provide expert blog commentary
on travel, women's issues, technology, food, entertainment and local
stories, areas where publishers may not have dedicated staff, Pluck
Chief Executive Dave Panos said.
In return, a select group of popular bloggers are offered wider
distribution for their writings, he said. The online syndicate drives
traffic to blog sites, allowing featured bloggers to make money from
resulting online advertising fees.
"I think you are going to see hundreds of newspapers accessing the
content we produce by the end of the year," Panos said.
Blogs distributed by BlogBurst range from tech-focused Micro Persuasion
http://www.micropersuasion.com/), the parental musings of Finslippy
http://finslippy.typepad.com/finslippy/) to Teen Fashionista
BlogBurst has its own staff to review and edit blogs, in effect
accrediting them for newspaper publishers and thereby addressing
issues of quality control that have often poisoned relations between
mainstream media and bloggers.
In recent years, established media have struggled to face the threat
that blogs would chip away at their readership, as more and more
people turn to online media for their news. Simultaneously, classified
advertising, newspapers' traditional source of revenue, has come under
attack from online services.
Meanwhile, bloggers have played a big role in exposing the failings of
conventional media. For their part, traditional journalists have seen
the lack of editorial oversight over individual bloggers as a danger
to impartial news reporting.
"Everything that flows on to publishers' sites they have the
opportunity to bless and to put a unique spin on while giving them the
quality levels they are looking for," Panos said.
Bloggers can sign up to join the service at http://www.blogburst.com.
Postings from approved bloggers are automatically available whenever a
blogger posts online. BlogBurst provides publishers with tools for
syndicating blog posts on various topics into their online
publications. In return, bloggers and other web site owners are free
to use the RSS output of many newspapers in their own work.
Jeff Jarvis, the former TV Guide media critic turned blogger
http://www.buzzmachine.com , said he doubts whether paid syndication
of blogs works, but believes that newspapers are moving in the right
direction by featuring bloggers, and allowing bloggers and web sites
to feature them.
"The lines between the mainstream media and the rest of the world will
start to blur, not because people (bloggers) are joining the
mainstream media, but because of the opposite effect: the mainstream
media rejoins the people," Jarvis said via e-mail.
Pluck has also begun to sign up niche business publications in sectors
such as aviation and architecture to use its blog syndication service
and to talk with European publishers as blog commentary has begun to
take off in that region.
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.
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