Monday, September 22, 2003
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The unstable equilibrium of j-blogs
The Sacramento Bee has decided to "edit" Daniel Weintraub's blog. According to their ombudsman:
This has prompted much gnashing of teeth across the blogosphere. The usual suspects -- Mickey Kaus, Glenn Reynolds, and Robert Tagorda -- are all over it. Kaus does the best job of identifying the problem with the Bee's "reform":
That's a lovely sentiment, but my strong suspicion is that newspaper editors will be congenitally incapable of following through on it. Editors, like many managers, tend towards risk-averse behavior. Editing a blog lowers the probability of stepping into an unwanted controversy, while allowing a journalist to roam unfettered in the blogosphere has little upside.
I agree that it's a shame that Weintraub's blog is being muffled -- but I also think that this incident is endemic to the unstable nature of the j-blog phenomenon. [How do you know -- you're not a journalist!!--ed. Call it my "right now" take. But I may be wrong. Eric Zorn, I'm looking in your direction to correct me if I am] And I'm not sure that anything can be done about it.
[What if bloggers and their readers e-mailed the Bee's ombudsman to point out that controversy swings both ways?--ed. What a subversive thought!! And you, an editor no less!!]
UPDATE: Well, it does appear as if bloggers have the power to get sportswriters fired at the Sacramento Bee (link via David Pinto).posted by Dan on 09.22.03 at 11:32 AM
Well, I encouraged Dan to make his own blog. He could pay for it with Google AdSense and a tip jar.posted by: Bo Cowgill on 09.22.03 at 11:32 AM [permalink]
I would think that editing is a newspaper's comparative advantage. Since a separately edited a blog is almost an oxymoron, I just wonder if it actually does make business sense.
That being said, I'm all for newspaper's establishing blogs and proving me wrong. --swposted by: Scott Wood on 09.22.03 at 11:32 AM [permalink]
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