Friday, September 26, 2003

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In a previous post on j-blogs, I wrote:

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.

In response, Eric has written an excellent blog post. You should read the whole thing, but Zorn provides a new and interesting analogy on how editors should think of j-blogs:

In reality, what needs to emerge here if the j-blog isn't going to die at birth, is an understanding on the part of editors and readers that, procedurally, a blog is much more like an appearance on a TV panel program or talk-radio show than it is a fully sanctioned, completely vetted declaration in cold type.

My fellow columnists and I frequently appear on radio and television and offer live (and in many cases broadcast on the internet), unedited statements under the color of our publications. Several Tribune staffers even have their own radio shows. We give speeches. We respond to e-mail and letters in writing. We give interviews to the New York Times.

And almost never is the substance and wording of such communication approved in advance by minders or editors....

The difference is that media consumers intuitively understand the difference between a published thought and one that's shouted at Bill O'Reilly. And they don't -- yet-- intuitively understand where a thought published on the web log fits into that spectrum.

Because we in the institutional media don't understand and can't agree on it yet.

The reason why l'affaire Bee seems so pivotal to so many in the blogging world is that the controversy is pushing us toward formalizing such understandings and agreements at a time when many of us -- me included and especially -- are still exploring and experimenting in this format.

And if we're too cautious in our conclusions, we risk losing a marvelous opportunity in what I remain convinced will be an increasingly important medium in the coming decades.

Really, I'm serious, read the whole thing.

posted by Dan on 09.26.03 at 04:04 PM


I blogged Zorn's piece today and agree with him completely (and I'm a former newspaper reporter and weekly column writer who now blogs and has done a lot of radio and TV appearances).

I also had some related thoughts a few days ago about whether j-blogs should be pre-edited. Here is the LINK to that.

posted by: Bill Hobbs on 09.26.03 at 04:04 PM [permalink]

Eric's post is very good. Thanks for passing it along. Incidentally, former LA Times editor Kevin Roderick used a similar "TV appearances" analogy on L.A. Observed several days ago. Maybe these j-bloggers really are on to something.

posted by: Robert Tagorda on 09.26.03 at 04:04 PM [permalink]

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