Saturday, February 11, 2006

More good reasons for editors to blog

I want to move Anders' secondary post from the “Sharing” thread up here to highlight it and make a related point:

Anders said: A second, somewhat off-point comment, has to do with editor blogs and the importance of attaching them to ongoing news stories. This week, as the cartoon dispute has played out, we've been running a blogs that gotten very strong response and some of the best, most thoughtful and also emotional discussion we could have hoped for. Here's the link:

This is a close cousin to a point I wanted to make, as well. Namely, that nearly anything you do now is liable to get much closer and more critical attention than ever before. Sometimes it will be fair, sometimes not, but it’s going to command attention and you need to be alert to it.

Editor blogs can be key in these situations, as well.

Many of you have already experienced the wrath of the blogosphere. Others will.

Here are a couple of examples of how partisan critiques can surface around what might seem like routine coverage to you. Two AP stories last Wednesday drew attention from bloggers: a report about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s donations from Jack Abramoff, and another that suggested Libby had Cheney’s permission to leak some classified material in support of the Iraq invasion. The folks at PowerLine argued sourcing and emphasis and asked whether the Libby piece was “The Dumbest News Story Ever?” while commentary at dailykos was savage in dissecting how the AP story missed the point about Reid; they also called a number of sources involved and asked if AP had bothered to check with them. (Most said no).

That’s an interesting new development: the critics at kos weren’t just complaining about the coverage; they provided alternative reporting and made some telling points. Left unanswered (as, of course, they were) their critique left me feeling the AP story had missed something.

Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t; the point is, for thousands of partisan readers at the dailykos website, that was the lasting take-away.

It will take time to learn how and when we need to respond to attacks, what we can learn by reading our critics closely, when to join debates in outside arenas and when to just comment on our own sites.

Sharing your experience in such matters can certainly help smooth the learning curve for us all.

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