Huggles Boggled

Blogging and journalism are like salt water and freshwater; to some anyways. Today, they are mixed; you can see the afternoon newspaper dying in the streets and reborn online with the likes of industry, pro bloggers and journalists who release bits of news in a blog format.

But are they suppose to? I guess this guy probably doesn’t think so. What surprised me was my own reaction about he being surprised at ANN’s relatively new tack in regards to internet reporting.

Li Mei Asako Nishida

Undeniably true, however, is that ANN is getting more traffic the more they dabble in this so-called “huggle” readership. If you read the comments in that In Search Of post, one of the commenter mentioned this and, well, that’s what blogs are all about! At the same time, unlike other news blog sites that we might be familiar with, ANN is sort of in mid-transition between a more traditional news website to a news blog.

As one of the first major anime fandom company on the internet, I didn’t really pay ANN any mind because it utterly failed to serve my needs (mainly protonews and a source of industry hubbub which was primarily what AoDVD was for). At least, until their mighty encyclopedia started to gain momentum. As a factoid, the first anime entry in the database is Angel Links. That should give you a clue to its vintage.

[Coincidentally that was one of the first series that I’ve had the joy of watching the digital raws while the series was airing. (And the subsequent joy of dropping it.) Anyways.]

So, yes; if we took a look at what fan blogs are about this day and age, we’ll see how things break down:

  • Episode reviews, previews, retrospectives
  • News – Both straight-up news and entertaining news. Does Mainichi Daily News counts? But I was thinking more like, say, akibablog or Canned Dogs.
  • Special features – Like a March madness tournament. Like blogging about your company’s Blu-Ray strategy. Like a sound clip from Yukana. But usually just reports from cons–the home of the huggles.

A lot of blogs mix them up, including this one. But I think that just lays out the things you will see ANN do more of. Being a commercial entity they already have a leg up on getting special interviews, so as a potential reader I hope they can do more of those.

The role of editorial bloggers and editorial blogging, however, is something else. To an extent, the power of blogging comes from the ability to do whatever you want with disregard to any kind of professional standard. If quality writing, professionalism and speed are important things for any publication, why is ANN getting the readership it gets?

Perhaps a better way to see the big picture is to understand how people gather information using the internet. And quite simply put, as long as it isn’t a time intensive and otherwise pain in the neck kind of a thing, people are quite content reading the words of a recent ESL person versus someone who has been writing professionally for decades. What is important is the information within, and does the information in the format presented serves the needs of the person looking for it. Or at least that’s how I judge the quality of information.

But that’s just how I see ANN, as a source of information. Different people perceive ANN as different things, after all.

That’s blogging in a nutshell IMO. After that it’s just a long sliding scale from awful to awesome. We are here to serve our huggling overlords, and many bloggers double duty as both. It doesn’t matter how we call ourselves, our readers can tell the difference (so we believe).

After all, it is the non-Serious-Business nature of internet blogging that makes amateur production feasible; there may very well be no incentive for a person to improve his or her blog if there is nothing to gain from it…much like how ANN has no incentive to improve the quality of its services?

It might be healthy to be obsessed with your blog’s traffic after all?


One Response to “Huggles Boggled”

  • omo

    8:29 PM, April 16th, 2008
    Ohhhhhhhhhhh boy, Gawker.

    8:44 PM, April 16th, 2008
    ANN’s terribad community bothers me more than the site itself.

    9:09 PM, April 16th, 2008
    Actually my obsession with my blog’s traffic is directly proportional to how often I post : O am I doin it right?

    Ryan A
    11:14 PM, April 16th, 2008
    When I hear editorial, I think of newspaper columns, which are vastly different from blog editorials for the fact that newspaper editorials are a small part of the delivery (one or a few bloggers vs hundreds of paper journalists).

    Blog entries really _are_ _it_, they aren’t part of some uniformed standard of operation (the closest thing to it is the Nano or the Antenna, perhaps Technorati). Still there is a wide degree of freedom in blogs.

    ANN is just a “news network” the editorials and reviews are side items to what it really does, news [and reference]. In other words, they can’t write whatever they want; they’ve lost some freedoms.

    … we’re still free.

    11:15 PM, April 16th, 2008
    Wow, ANN just opened a Pandora’s Box of double-standards and hypocrisy.

    I mean, look at it from a simple perspective: If ANN reader audience is mostly (supposed to be) composed of US anime fans who buy original DVDs, how the heck would their readers even care to know what the latest episode of a US-unlicensed anime is all about? Why do they even bother giving coverage to the latest episodes from Japan which mainstream (non fansub-downloading) US anime fans won’t even see for the next few months, much worse, see at all?

    12:21 PM, April 17th, 2008
    More comments on the version of the site.

    So now I’m wondering if ANN really thinks of itself as “just” a news network, with things like this. And if they don’t what does it mean for them, or for us that see it trying to expand on the role we paste for it?

    4:26 PM, April 17th, 2008
    Personally I don’t really care what ANN does as long as it provides a service to the community. When they blunder and produce sub-par material, or if they leave out things you wish they would be doing, it just means someone can come in and do a better job.

    I don’t really mind if they talk about fansubs one way or another. I think it’s silly that an industry reporting source have to refrain from talking about new shows just so people like bluemist can’t criticize them :)

    But what I don’t get is what Ryan is saying. A news source can report news AND editorialize. Why should the two be held to the same standard when they are not the same thing? In fact, I see this as the way ANN approach news. It is fine because unlike traditional newspapers, on the internet you can pick and choose with more precision and just ignore all the LOL Answerman columns or whatever.

    Cameron Probert
    11:25 PM, April 17th, 2008
    I know I’m expecting too much. *shrugs* But that said, I would like it to uphold the standards of professional journalism. But I can’t expect it to. Because like you said, it doesn’t need to. And people will still use it for that. Or in spite of that.

    Jeff Lawson
    2:55 AM, April 18th, 2008
    Perhaps I’m missing the point of this entire brouhaha, given that I’ve always considered ANN more of an information portal than a traditional news outlet, but I want to pose a question nonetheless: if ANN is somehow taking a “fansubs are OK” position by providing previews of anime that has yet to be licensed for distribution outside of Japan, what of the now defunct Newtype USA, which filled its pages with similar previews and promotional material for unlicensed anime each and every month for five years?

    Or did they eventually stop doing that?

    10:57 AM, April 18th, 2008
    I haven’t looked in PiQ but I think the coverage is similar? At least one person said he was writing for PiQ about the new Spring anime season, so I presume so.

    More pertinently, what of Bandai Visual? Why shouldn’t anime companies rely on the fans themselves to educate themselves about new shows? I think there’s no way we can fault any of these professional news services simply because they cover new shows that aren’t licensed.

    But can we fault them for doing what bloggers do in covering new shows via raws and fansubs? I don’t think so.

    12:44 AM, April 21st, 2008
    >>As a factoid, the first anime entry in the database is Angel Links.

    I’d also like to note that their second entry is Apocalypse Zero, just for lulz.

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