Reporters looking for drama
Some of the posts on my business blog get the attention of local media and the reporters call. What I find fascinating is that they often already have their story and they call people until they find someone who will corroborate it. I think it has something to do with needing two sources.
As a Realtor I know what is going on in the local housing market long before it is on the radar of the local or national news media. They report on it, I live it every day as an industry insider. I know my city and I know the market.
Just the facts
I publish numbers on my blog. They come from our MLS and as a responsible journalist I site my sources and I keep my numbers and am willing to explain them to anyone who asks. I double and triple check everything before I post.
Recently I wrote a post about home prices by neighborhood. I put it in draft form and set it to post a few days later. The day before I posted a local newspaper had a story about home prices in one of the neighborhoods and stated that property values had gone up in that neighborhood.
The numbers I posted the next day indicated that values had gone down. My own experience indicates that values have gone down. Most of my listings are in the same neighborhood and I have been tracking prices for years.
A few of my readers commented on my post and others sent email asking me if I had read the story in the paper. I had read the story but I read it after I wrote my own post. I explained my numbers to my readers and I am standing by them.
Reporters can be wrong
Working for a newspaper does not make a reporter right. They don’t own the news. The newspaper article had commentary by local agents. They call and the agent likes the idea of having their name in the paper so they run with it. I tend to be a bit more cautious. I am comfortable with skipping the free publicity and keeping my integrity.
I have a background in statistics and I excel at MS Excel. I used to work for the government and creating reports from data was a large part of my job. I stand behind my numbers and am used to the idea of defending them. I am not intimidated by the publications that don’t agree with the numbers on my blog.
We are the media too
There really isn’t any need for damage control either. Like I wrote in my post I just publish numbers I don’t put any spin on them and I don’t include much commentary other than to explain where the numbers came from and to point out obvious trends. For some I have become the “source” for St. Paul housing stats. I leave the spin and the drama to the media and the local board of Realtors.
Bloggers are also the media; ideally they report on or write about their area of expertise. While the local newspapers and radio stations are laying people off while citizen journalism is growing daily.