Huffington Post, one of the most visited sites in the world, is also criticized within the journalism and citizen media community for its approach towards online content. Pioneering the aggregation trend and monetization of free content, HuffPo has been accused of benefiting from other people’s hard work and reducing journalism to few short paragraphs designed to get quick hits.
Regardless, the liberal news site has grown into an institution and wields tremendous influence-online and in the brick and mortar world. Recent AOL-Huffington Post merger has further solidified its position, and the age of aggregation is here to stay.
The way HuffPo has shaken up blogosphere and citizen media, even with all the negatives, makes me wonder if Nepali citizen media could benefited from being “HuffPo”ed?
There are great Nepali blogs, from literary to technical, entertainment and personal; jostling for readership. Compared to English or other major South Asian languages, Nepali has limited reach. Technical and infrastructure barriers within Nepal and the tendency of diaspora to migrate towards English language media further constricts the pool. A platform like HuffPo, dedicated towards promoting Nepali blogs, could provide tremendous boost.
At this stage, more than opportunities to monetize, Nepali blogosphere needs exposure and stable readership. Only after securing these two bases, the revenue question can be discussed. HuffPo treatment works perfectly for the eyeballs situation.
And on the charge that the blind dash towards clicks is degenerating online journalism and citizen media, it a real cause for concern. Nepali blogosphere, by and large, is geared more towards the opinion/analysis/reflection than going after first hand reporting. Sustained effort to publicize the bloggers’ code of conduct and insuring that signatories follow it could keep number of issues in check and preserve the integrity of forum.
Also, since the blogs are evolving and carving out their identity getting “HuffPo”ed could be very encouraging and could motivate them to care more about standards.
At this blog, we try to publicize Nepali citizen media. Instead of sharing entire posts, we now share short snippets and ask readers to visit the original blogs instead. This sends traffic to the blog and we too benefit from being part of the conversation chain.
The Nepali HuffPo could do something similar-publicize blogs and bloggers, but instead of cannibalizing the traffic focus more on building and nurturing community.
Tomorrow its all about hyper local sites and MeroReport.