Michael Brgi has been the editor of MediaWeek, the business trade publication, since 2004. He joined the magazine in 1993 to report on the cable industry and later became news editor, managing editor and then executive editor. He has overseen all day-to-day editorial operations since 2003. Prior to Mediaweek, Brgi reported for Multichannel News and Inside Media.

Liz Cox Barrett: I’m curious to hear what the editor of a media trade publication thinks about blogs, how they’ve influenced the media business (or not) and their potential to make money (or not). Do you read any blogs? Are there any that you’d point to as particularly influential and/or likely to turn a profit?

Michael Brgi: I’m going to start off sounding like a complete curmudgeon. First, let me say I’m a Luddite, I’m not a tremendous user of the Web for enjoyment or for recreational purposes. I use the Web for information and, really, for my job. So I’m not a tremendous fan of blogs, I’ve got to be honest.

What I’d say blogs really are — if it’s not a completely inappropriate comment — a kind of a circle jerk for the world of journalists. … We’re all writing for each other. As a result I’ve never enjoyed that or had fun participating in that kind of milieu. I’m not a big fan of blogs but I also don’t know that blogs have a big business future. They’ll be around, they’ll be part of the wonderful world of the Internet for decades until the next cool way of sharing information comes around, but I don’t think there is much of a business there because I’m not sure how many advertisers feel the need to reach journalists (we’re only one step above lawyers and used car salesmen). I’m not sure advertisers are clamoring to get their ads in front of us.

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t read blogs. I do notice Gawker sometimes but I’ve got to admit I’m mainly looking just to see if they’ve picked up any of my stories. It’s a little bit of a vanity contest, whether or not Gawker or Romenesko or MediaBistro picked up one of our stories. I don’t tend to go to blogs to find stuff out or get a kick out of seeing what’s out there. I read newspapers and newsweeklies and watch TV news for most of my information.

I do find fascinating this new subculture of, I guess it’s being called “citizen journalism,” which is really taking root and blogs are an early extension of that. It fascinates me to think how this will ever turn into a business or will it ever need to become a business. … I’m not a big participant but I’m definitely an interested observer …

LCB: You’ve been covering the media business for over a decade. What are some of the biggest changes or innovations you’ve witnessed in that time? What has surprised you, perhaps a trend or publication that did (or didn’t) stick?

MB: I’ve pretty much been covering the TV business for about, this is scary to say, seventeen or eighteen years. During my time I’ve seen the advent of 24-hour cable news, which has really just so changed the way people digest their news. We were talking about it before, the whole new advent of news that can be personalized, whether it’s individual people getting their news from news channels’ [Web] sites or creating their own news through blogs … all of this has dramatically changed the world of news as we know it.

To see the New York Times lay off 500 people earlier this week — six months, I think, after they laid off another 150 — there is something big afoot. I’m not sure how much I like the way it’s going. Me and my magazine may be out off business down the line. These changes [are] irrefutable and it’s fascinating to witness.

LCB: What challenges do you see for the business of journalism?

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.