Reporters love newsroom blogs, said Downie, because they put writers in better touch with their readers: "Everyone in our newsroom wants to be a blogger."And the blogs that pick apart every article that the Post produces are a good thing, said Downie, because they "keep the paper honest" and, even if their commentary isn't positive, bring people to the site."Blogs are not competitors and not problems," he said. "Instead we have a very interesting symbiotic relationship. Our largest driver of traffic is Matt Drudge."
It is reassuring to hear Downie admit that the blogs help keep the paper honest and, more importantly, drive traffic to their website, noting that the Drudge Report drives more traffic than any other site to the Post's site. As to the online competition with the newspaper's traditional print newspaper, Downie finds a silver lining. Its reach has grown dramatically because of the Internet:
While it's true that competition for print media has increased tremendously due to the Web, the Washington Post's overall audience has now become huge compared to what it once was, Downie added. And instead of weakening the paper's brand, as he said it was feared, it has strengthened it and made the Washington Post well known around the world.
Editor & Publisher also reports that Downie "speculated that perhaps in the future content sharing between old media and new media would be less of a one-way street, with print media taking cues and integrating ideas from multimedia integration and blogs." The Star's Dennis Ryerson would do well to heed Downie's advice. He obviously gets it.