Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blogger, proven right many times, to give up goldmine

Jim Hopkins, a former business writer and editor at the USA Today, has worked for a year or two on creating an online community for the tens of thousands of people who work for the paper's parent company, Gannett.
Today, the Today Show on NBC reported that rumors of impending layoffs numbering 2,000 will be coming from Gannett, which also owns the Detroit Free Press. Other reports put it at less, but everyone involved is still waiting for the official word.
If true, this is another successful scoop for Hopkins, as his Gannett blog first reported this several weeks ago, giving something like July 6th or 8th as the date the layoffs or reductions must be completed by.
Now, Hopkins' info comes from posters, his readers; all he does is provide a forum for the community to engage one another and share thoughts, ideas and, most importantly, news tips on their company, whether employee or stockholder or interested party.
It's not perfect, one reason I'm sure that Hopkins is abandoning his project. 
If you are interested in how such a site could be the future model of discussion groups or forums (as more consumers seek only the news they are interested in, not the full scope offered by the traditional newspaper), check it out. 
Instead of ideas, thoughts and tips, the site quickly devolved into insults, hate speak, and mostly lengthy repetitious rants against management in general and individuals in particular.
And everyone has reason to be unhappy, as the stock price has sunk to just a couple bucks from highs in the $50s just two years ago and papers' and tv stations' staffs have been reduced.
Hopkins said earlier that he was giving up the blog, saying it was to only be temporary project, but interest exploded and he nailed several stories -- including a massive round of layoffs in December that was first reported on his blog.
But the interest brought the negativity and after a lot of drama with him injecting himself into the commentary and story, he announced last month or so that he was closing shop in October to work on another project. 
Then he cut off the ability to post comments anonymously and the number of comments fell from 60 to 150 a day to about three or four. Anonymous comments are back and so is the info and the hate, but now he's shutting down in a week or so.
He's endorsed a follow up blogger to follow in his path, but check out his current effort as it is a great case study in what can be done and what one must deal with to do it.


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