I’m OK With That
It was so-called “new media” against the traditional media on a traditional medium’s cyber playing field. Late last week, as I’m sure that many of you know by now, I found out from a former colleague that this blog had been included in the Austin American-Statesman’s entertainment web site’s weekly poll, Austin360.com’s “A List”. It was a poll of “media newcomers”.
I looked at the competition. It was formidable. Several of the newcomers were from traditional mass media, broadcast TV. The Austin360 staff picked powerful contenders, including Terri Gruca, one of the main anchors from Austin’s #1 TV station, KVUE (ABC). Other nominees included Katherine Stolp, an Austin native and KEYE TV (CBS) reporter, Natalie Stoll who does weekend weather and reporting for KXAN TV (NBC), and Adam Krueger of News 8. My most furious competition as it turned out was Matt Reilly from KUT (Public Radio). The competition also included Austin Post, and I’m a contributor to Austin Post (austinpost.org) creating a curious competition against myself in the blogosphere.
If you’re going to be in journalism, you must be a competitor. Sizing up the lay of the land, I knew that I couldn’t draw on supporters from local traditional media since they would be supporting their colleagues. I might be a friend, but I’m an old friend. Besides, all of them are in the traditional media. My only means of competing, therefore, was to use email groups and new media, specifically social media and my “friends” on Facebook.
One of my longtime friends who is also a Facebook friend, Diane Holloway, chided me saying that I as a journalist should have dignity. “OK, Jim. Stop begging! Remember, you're a journalist, not a panhandler. You don't have to beg. A little dignity PLEASE,” Diane protested. “I know about self-promotion. I have to do it for my TV “Worth Watching” columns ... but I try not to do it a dozen times a day, dude!!” Diane is dignified and her “Worth Watching” posts are well worth reading (tvworthwatching.com).
I have never approached dignity, although I have a good model in my dad. Neither have been particularly politically correct, whatever that is. I pressed on pulling all of the strings I could and watching the ticker.
I used this blog email notification list and my music lists for email promotion. Both generated votes and encouragement. My son promoted me in his Austin office, and my niece also exhorted Facebook friends. My wife and my sister joined in the fray too. Tuesday night, one of my FB friends, whom I have not physically seen in decades although she lives here in Austin posted much appreciated and needed support in the final hours. “Jim McNabb is a good guy who continues to promote credibility and accountability in local news reporting,” she wrote. “I appreciate his effort in putting up this blog and hope you will consider casting a vote for him so that he might at least place third in this survey (and we can all get some peace!! :) ).” I loved it.
And, I should say that I know of some friends in the traditional media who backed NewsMcNabb as the clock ticked toward 11 p.m., their colleagues’ places were pretty much locked. Thank you.
What does all of this mean? Does it mean that the McNabb in NewsMcNabb is a nut case? Well, maybe. I don’t, however, think it is about me. It isn’t about NewsMcNabb. It is about subtle shifts in media. Austin360.com intentionally sprinkled in all sorts of media.
“When we consider the Your A-List polls each week, we work hard to pick a good mix of contenders that represent the diverse interests of visitors to our site,” says Gary Dinges of Austin360.com.
“As you can see, the list has a little something for just about everyone,” Dinges says. No blogs were included in this category last year. For some perspective, however, some nominees have done it the very old fashioned way. “Successful write-in campaigns have been waged numerous times,” Dinges says. Dinges says they do have a “best blog” category. It will be sometime later.
Bottom line: I think coming in third in this odd little competition says more about the power of social media and networking via email than it does about NewsMcNabb. Certainly, last year’s presidential campaign proved that it works, and now the loyal opposition is trying to emulate it. Like Diane Holloway said at one point, it is an honor to be nominated. I am humbled. I am also rather amazed that it is possible over the course of five days to pull up in third place behind the mass media using only networking and new media. So, when someone puts down Facebook and Twitter, they may not realize the power in these so-called “social media”.
© Jim McNabb, 2009