Have you read the Asian Age lately?
If you read the supplement (the maybe-even- smaller-than tabloid-size one that has a little city-news, a little entertainment or party-stuff, a couple of education or youth-related pages
), you will have noticed a blog-column.
It is intended as a sort of youth-speak 'attitude/opinion' column, but the content is derived from various blogs run by young people, for the most part.
I don't know whether the sub who puts the page together gets in touch with the authors and seeks permission to quote from a blog, or not... I suspect he/she does, since the column is headed by a name and a mug-shot, which are not always available on blogs.
This is such a step-up from a newspaper's traditional method of seeking public opinion.
A cursing-fuming reporter used to be dispatched with an equally resentful photographer; together they'd accost unsuspecting citizens on the roads, in campuses, outside office buildings and in restaurants, and pop the question - 'What is your view on... '. The questions would range from a constitutional amendment to Tendulkar's endorsements to Kareena's Kapoor's kisses.
Most often, the poor accosted citizen would be frightened, would wave off the camera and refuse to divulge his/her name, age and sundry details. Most often, he/she would have no opinion whatsoever on the given subject. The reporter would probe, prompt, and sometimes just put words into the mouth of a citizen, who would play along happily, if suitably excited at the prospect of having his/her mug-shot in tomorrow morning's newspaper.
Now, a newsroom is seeking out an opinion that already been expressed (and therefore, one may assume a certain amount of passion, if not information, exists, about a given issue... making it worthy of publication). Besides, you're saving a photographer/reporter's time. Also, a sub-editor doesn't have to sit down and key in the column, line by painful line... A win-win situation, if there ever was one!
For me, this is doubly interesting because I like watching media-exchanges as they happen. People keep talking about different media competing, but rarely about how one form of media feeds the other. I have no doubt that blogs cannot wipe out print media (do they even want to?); but newspapers will begin to source content, reviews, columns, gossip and a host of information from blogs. And vice-versa!
Of course, a key assumption here is that permission to print has been sought and granted. We've already seen that newspapers do not hesitate to 'lift' content from blogs
, without attribution, when it suits them (a very naughty thing to do... no?)