A Reporter Tries to Make Himself Obsolete

Politicians aren't the only ones hanging on to the blogosphere's every word these days, in awe of what they see as bloggers' vast influence and clout. Reporters are doing it, too.

Politicians aren’t the only ones hanging on to the blogosphere’s every word these days, in awe of what they see as bloggers’ vast influence and clout. Reporters are doing it, too. (And plenty of business types are moving in, getting paid to track the blog worship.)

To wit: According to CNNmoney.com senior writer Paul R. La Monica, “the ratings nightmare that NBC has found itself in for the past few years may finally come to an end this fall.”


The Peacock Network’s “reason to strut,” writes La Monica, is that this fall “it will air three of the four most anticipated shows.” “Most anticipated” by whom? By bloggers — or “online buzz from blogs, message boards and other Internet sources” as measured by research firm Brandimensions. (Prance away, NBC! The blogosphere is buzzing about you!)

Is “online buzz” — in this case bloggers commenting on television shows that they haven’t even seen — that powerful (and accurate as a predictor of an unseen television shows’ success) that NBC should, with the first of the fall premieres still six weeks away, already “be proud,” “strut[ting],” and anticipating the end of its ratings woes? La Monica (and Brandimensions) seem convinced that it is. (Personally, we prefer Forbes.com’s treatment of the same research findings: “Psst! Wanna know what the next hit TV show is going to be? If you believe the crystal ball employed by Toronto-based market-research firm Brandimensions…”)

No such healthy skepticism at CNNmoney.com, where La Monica reports a Brandimensions employee’s claim that NBC’s decision to move the time slot for one of its new fall shows “already appears to be paying dividends” (again, before the show has even aired). How so? Because, La Monica writes, “one blogger wrote before NBC moved the show to Mondays that although the show looked interesting, ‘NBC is practically committing suicide’ by sticking it against “CSI” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” And “based on [bloggers’] comments” now, the new time slot is not a “detractor.”

As sometimes happens, a voice of reason pops up at the very end of the piece (why oh why do reporters so often report — but not heed — the wisdom of their sources?). In this case, that voice belongs to a media buyer who reminds La Monica that “there is a big difference between pre-season hype and actual success.”

Even when the “pre-season hype” is generated in the almighty blogosphere.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.