Bloggers Beat The New York Times For News

Feb 2nd, 2008 | By | Category: General, Strange

The Long Now Foundation has made a decision on the five year old bet between podcasting pioneer Dave Winer and the New York Times’ Martin Nisenholtz:

Long Bets has arrived at a decision for Long Bet #2 between blogger Dave Winer and Martin Nisenholtz of the NY Times. At stake is US$2000.00 plus half the interest that has accrued over the last 5 years in the Farsight Fund, all of which will go to the charity of the winner’s choice.

In the bet Winer asserts, “In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the ‘New York Times‘ Web site”.

The Long Bets decision on this bet is in favor of Winer’s side; weblog page ranks came out ahead of the NY Times 4 to 1.

Takeaways From The Times Vs Blogs Bet

There are several things we can take away from Winer & Nisenholtz’s bet:

  • If blogs now beat the New York Times at Google, it’s probably a safe bet that podcasts and other user-generated video will beat any traditional TV network’s online presence within five years.
  • While blogs show up higher in search results at Google, no blog has the authority or visibility of the New York Times yet.
  • The New York Times’ “gated community” strategy has been horrible for the site’s search engine rankings.
  • The rise of Wikipedia has almost made the bet irrelevant.
  • The success of blogs at search sites may reflect as much on the limitations of current search engines as it does on the quality of blog coverage. Is Lesboprof’s take on the Virginia Tech killings especially notable? Not really – but it beats the New York Times’ coverage at Google.

The success of blogs hasn’t brought about an enlightened state of journalism, as many were predicting five years ago. In fact, Google’s reliance on links in determining page rank tends to promote sensational and controversial takes on the news.

More than anything, the fact that blogs beat the New York Times in the bet shows that individual voices have more power than ever in shaping the way we get news and changing how we view the world.

Update: Dave Winer’s take on the outcome.

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One Response to “Bloggers Beat The New York Times For News”

  1. Hendry Lee says:

    An indication that social media is on the rise. Blogs have beaten traditional media in many different ways, and now it is taken to an entirely new level.

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