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Newspapers can capitalize on the Gizmodo/iPhone fiasco—if they do it right

April 26, 2010

Newspaper editors may not be saying See—blogs aren’t journalism! in the midst of Gizmodo/Gawker’s leaked iPhone crapstorm, but they’re sure as hell thinking it. This is exactly the kind of thing Old Media types want to happen because it’s much easier to wait for a blogger to screw up than it is to innovate the newsroom.

The problem is, a loss for bloggers isn’t the same as a win for newspapers. And if all newspaper editors do is point to this isolated incident and say See? This is why you need us, it’s going to be a big fat FAIL for everyone.

What newspapers need to be thinking about right now is how they can actually do better than Gizmodo, not just how they can use Jason Chen’s bad week as ammunition for their op-ed pages. This wasn’t the first foray into the ethical gray for tech bloggers and it won’t be the last—readers are smart enough to know that and most of them will keep reading Gizmodo no matter what happens.

But—there’s probably at least a segment of Gizmodo readers/tech blog readers in general who wouldn’t mind giving a newspaper’s blog or tech section a look if it would ante up in the face of this fiasco and show that it knows how to deliver news in a digital format.

So your move, newspapers: You can dance around and point at Gizmodo like a bunch of grade-schoolers (conveniently ignoring your own past screw-ups) or you can act like the supposed higher forms of journalism that you say you are by keeping your mouths shut and getting some work done.

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