Thursday, March 23, 2006

Calvin ball

Do you remember the old cartoon about Calvin and Hobbes and the game Calvin Ball which had no rules? It is important to understand that in blogosphere the roles are always in flux. For example, Jeremy Pepper is a flack, but when he writes Blogrun he is an editor for a trade publication. I am a flack, but if Jeremy links to Presto Vivace Blog, I am a newsmaker, albeit a minor one.

Or to take another example, if a Michael Barbaro of the New York Times contacts John McAdams of the Marquette Warrior blog to talk about Wal-Mart, then Barbaro is the reporter and McAdams is a source. Unless of course McAdams chooses to write about being contacted by the NYT, then McAdams is the citizen-journalist and poor Barbaro is an unwilling newsmaker and scooped on his own story to boot. The WSJ saw the post on McAdams blog and scooped the NYT.

Who is the reporter, who is the source, who is the newsmaker?
It's Calvin Ball. Doesn't matter if it isn't fair, blogosphere ain't going anywhere.

Now, what do you do if you find out a newspaper is planning a hit piece on your client? Do you preempt them on blogosphere? And if so, how?

The answers are not clear, but I think communicators should be aware that these issues are popping up.

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