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Blogging's place in local media

Warning: There is some serious stuff in here. If you are looking for a typical OBNUG fluff piece, try this link. Proceed with appropriate seriousness.

Blogging has been in the news recently thanks to the ambush-discussion on HBO with Deadspin editor Will Leitch and a bunch of crotchety old men who aren't open-minded. Websites have lit up with talk of blogging's virtues (mostly on blogs) and blogging's faults (mostly on newspaper sites). The Statesman's Brian Murphy used his Sunday column to tackle the issue.

Now it is our turn.

Obviously, we have an opinion on the blog debate. But instead of rehashing breakdowns of blogging's validity, we want to turn the tables to blogging's place among the local media in Boise. OBNUG, Fight Fight BSU, and Statue Left are the three most predominant Bronco blogs, and there has yet to be a proper discourse on how our influence affects the big boys of the Idaho Statesman, Idaho Press-Tribune, KTVB, and others.

To start with, let's get a few basic facts out of the way:
1. Blogs are here to stay.
2. Traditional media doesn't need to understand or appreciate blogs in order for them to succeed.
3. Blogs serve a meaningful purpose in the new era of media.

We truly believe all those points, and we feel that in a few years, these tenets will be common knowledge. As such, we feel the discussion of whether or not blogs are relevant is pointless. Our numbers after three months in existence testify to this, and the popularity of OBNUG, Fight Fight BSU, and Statue Left is further proof.

Blogging, in general, provides a significant supplement to traditional news coverage. Blogging, in Boise, has the potential for far greater traction.

To say that the local media does not cater to a demanding Boise State audience would be an understatement. There is simply not enough constant, streaming news and information to satisfy a diehard fan, which is why forums and message boards have gained so much popularity. We started our website because we saw a need for Boise State content that was written by Boise State fans, for Boise State fans. We target our content to be accessible to casual fans, but we have found that the diehard fan gets just as much use out of it.

Why? Because they have no other choice. The traditional Boise media does not do a good enough job of providing content on a consistent, regular basis.

Case in point: the NFL Draft. Brian Murphy decided to dedicate his Murph's Turf blog to the NFL draft for the week leading up to draft day. He started on Monday; his last post was on a Tuesday. For the next few days, he posted various short items related to the Broncos.

Similarly, we decided to dedicate OBNUG to draft coverage for the entire week. We had multiple stories each day on the prospects of Boise State players and the latest news leading up to the draft. We live-blogged the draft on Saturday and we followed up with breaking news and video on Sunday.

If BSU fans wanted instant updates, they had to go to the blogs. And they did. During draft weekend, we received some of our highest ratings yet because we were live-blogging, updating, and breaking news. The Statesman wasn't, and knowledge-hungry fans recognized this.

Another prime example is the latest Marty Tadman news. Last night, while we were prepping for the week ahead, we came across a story about Marty Tadman being in Jets camp. At first, we couldn't believe our eyes. We had been searching feverishly for Tadman news ever since the draft ended. As one of our favorite Broncos, we were shocked when his name never turned up on initial free agent signings, but all of a sudden, here he was in Jets camp.

We searched the Statesman and the Press-Tribune for any similar stories, and they had nothing. Then, we had to double-check the source just to make sure it wasn't a mistake (that's right, we're a blog that actually checks sources). It wasn't. Tadman was indeed in Jets camp.

We posted the story late last night, as soon as we found out. We thought Bronco fans would want to know, and again, we were right. Fight Fight BSU linked to the story, and we've had a great number of hits today from fans who want more.

Our point is that Boise State blogs are committed to the Boise State football team. Other local media are decidedly less so. Having a team page devoted to Boise State isn't going to cut it in today's day and age. Fans want websites of news and information. They want devoted writers. They want quality and quantity.

The amazing thing is that local blogs provide their services with absolutely no pay. We do not have resources or funding or financial backers. What we do have is jobs--real, tangible, 9-to-5 jobs. We do the blogging on the side because we love the team and because we want to help support the Bronco football program. Imagine what we could do if we were getting paid a salary to report on the Broncos. OBNUG would be ten times this size!

The world is changing, and the next generation of consumers have a different approach to news and information. Instant gratification and instant knowledge is the new standard. The Statesman doesn't have it. The Idaho Press-Tribune doesn't have it. doesn't have it. certainly doesn't have it.

Blogs do.

If we were granted the access and resources and support of a traditional media outlet, the competition would be over. As it stands, we still depend on outlets like the Statesman and KTIK for stories and news. But their autonomy won't last forever. Boise State bloggers have started cultivating our own sources and breaking our own news. We certainly have an edge when it comes to research and knowledge. And, most importantly, we understand the needs of our audience.

The future is bright for Bronco bloggers. Until the local media catches up, the same cannot be said of them.