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The Role of Bloggers in the New Economy

Mar 01, 20094 mins
CareersData and Information SecurityIT Leadership

The new OMB director starts a blog while news organizations world-wide announce layoffs. What’s going on? Is this the new normal?

As the world recession deepens, the traditional role played by reporters continues to change. News organizations around the world are in financial trouble, and there are far fewer reporters. Oftentimes, remaining staff are asked to stay home for weeks without pay. Meanwhile, the number of bloggers continue to grow, as content moves online.

Whether this is a good or bad development depends on your viewpoint. I certainly do not like the layoffs, but is this recession just accelerating an inevitable trend brought on by the Internet? What is not in doubt – this trend is impacting government information flow, security, and risk.  Here’s why.

I started thinking about this issue as I read a Washington Post article by Marc Fisher entitled: Bloggers Can’t fill the Gap Left by Shrinking Press Corps.  He has some excellent arguments regarding press coverage of state government activities. Here’s an excerpt: 

“The smaller the press corps gets, the more you see personality stories rather than pieces about what is at stake for people,” says Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. “Smoking in restaurants is always going to get covered, but now, when we make big changes in mental health or foster care, nobody covers it. That has a real impact: It would be hard for campaigns to get even more superficial, but they might.”

“Time is much more precious now,” Fiske says. The Virginian-Pilot has gone from a five-person capital bureau a decade ago to two full-time reporters, with one more during the session. “When we had the larger bureaus, you could do the good investigative piece. Most sessions, somebody would find someone doing something wrong. Now, we can only really cover the flow of legislation….”

Fisher goes on to describe how many miss balanced, unbiased reporting that is no longer offered. He concludes his article with these words:  “Something will rise to fill the news vacuum, someday. In the meantime, the lobbyists are getting the news they need. The voters, not so much.”

There is no doubt that the number of paid reporters is dropping. The stories of newspapers shutting down and layoffs nationwide are heart-breaking. Here are a few of the articles that I read before doing this blog. CBS Layoffs: Where are They Hiding the BodiesNPR Announces Cuts to Staff, Programs, and News Cycle.  There are even new webinars on this trend.

Meanwhile, Federal Computer Week (FCW) posted an article announcing that the director of the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) started a blog. Many professionals (in all fields) are becoming bloggers. Just about every technical magazine that I read now has bloggers.   

No doubt, blogs like this new one from OMB contain a bit of spin. Government organizations, businesses, and politicians write the stories that they want you to hear. I must admit my blog is no exception. Bloggers are biased, but so are professional reporters – despite their claims to the contrary.  

Some may wonder: what does this have to do with security? Answer: quite a lot. There are an immense number of questions surrounding information flow in organizations, who can say what to whom, and what information is made public and what is kept private.

This blog entry is just intended to introduce this complex topic. I don’t have good answers to this question right now. My best guess is that our nation will go too far in eliminating reporters in this economic downturn. I hope that as our economy recovers, professional reporters are hired back. However, I know “hardcopy” news will never be fully the same. Something new will emerge.  

And yet, we need a discussion on this topic in the security and IT professional ranks now. There are many related issues regarding social networking at work, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the role of Public Information Officers (PIOs), what should bloggers at work be allowed to say or not say, and many other issues. Are we covering the right issues? Is the public being served?

I’d love to hear your viewpoints on the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding this current reporting trend.    


Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist and author. During his distinguished career, Dan has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, including enterprise-wide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan State Government. Dan was named: "CSO of the Year," "Public Official of the Year," and a Computerworld "Premier 100 IT Leader." Dan is the co-author of the Wiley book, “Cyber Mayday and the Day After: A Leader’s Guide to Preparing, Managing and Recovering From Inevitable Business Disruptions.” Dan Lohrmann joined Presidio in November 2021 as an advisory CISO supporting mainly public sector clients. He formerly served as the Chief Strategist and Chief Security Officer for Security Mentor, Inc. Dan started his career at the National Security Agency (NSA). He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US / UK military facility. Lohrmann is on the advisory board for four university information assurance (IA) programs, including Norwich University, University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), Valparaiso University and Walsh College. Earlier in his career he authored two books - Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD For You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. Mr. Lohrmann holds a Master's Degree in Computer Science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and a Bachelor's Degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

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