is right on
If memory and archives serve me well, I think I've complained in the past about the New York Times policy or statements about blogs.
Not today. Today I have a smile on my face, though I haven't done all the fact checking that I need to pursue. Still, there's a good reason for my smile.
I can nitpick and find a few flaws, but in general, the new memo on blogging issued by the New York Times is very nice. They are starting to "get" blogging, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of MSM (morbid/main stream media).
[BTW, I think my "morbid stream media" meme is catching on. I won't take any credit really, but I have seen network TV news attempting to broadcast more "positive angle" stories lately, and the anchors are talking more about "our blog". Ha ha ha. Okay. That's good, I guess. We'll see.]
I quote from the text at CyberJournalist dot Net.
To: The Staff From: Jon Landman
Here is the full New York Times memo on blogging (via L.A. Observed):
December 7, 2005
Yesterday we launched a genuine, authentic, by-the-book New York Times blog. It’s Carpetbagger, by David Carr. It’s part of a new movie-awards-season web site called Red Carpet, which includes a bunch of things you won’t see in the newspaper, like weekly columns by Joyce Wadler and Caryn James. You’ll see a refer on today’s front page, which I boldly, if ignorantly, declare to be our first-ever page-1 refer to a web-only feature. At the very least, it’s our first-ever page 1 refer to a blog.
Within a few days, we’ll put up a real estate blog by Damon Darlin and others. More blogs are in the works. Even more are at the idea stage.
We’ve come late to blogging, obviously, though we’ve put toes in the water on a number of occasions, as when our movie critics sent running commentary from last year’s Cannes film festival.
But our new blogs are more than running commentary. Look at Carr’s. It’s full of links to film publications and blogs and web sites. It encourages responses from readers and hopes to start a lively conversation. Nothing is more important to the future of our web ambitions than to engage our sophisticated readers. Blogs are one way to do it.
It’s worth spending a little time thinking about blogs, and about ourselves. Blogs make some newspaper people nuts; they’re partisan, the thinking goes, and unfair and mean-spirited and sloppy about facts. Newspapers make some bloggers nuts; they think we’re dull and slow and pompous and jealous guardians of unearned “authority.”
It’s a pretty dopey argument. Indeed, some blogs are lousy. So are some newspapers. Some blogs reject journalism. Some practice it.
The point is, a blog is nothing more than a piece of technology. It allows people to compile thoughts, connect with others and interact quickly with readers. People can use it any way they want to. It has no inherent ethical or moral quality, though it does have its own special power.
We’ll use the technology our way. Our bloggers will have editors. They will observe our normal standards of fairness and care. They won’t float rumors or take journalistic shortcuts. Critics and opinion columnists can have opinion blogs; reporters can’t. (To quote Carr: “If the Carpetbagger delved into plot or relative quality – they didn’t turn me loose for my refined cinematic taste flying monkeys would come out of the ceiling here at headquarters and behead him.”) We’ll encourage readers to post their thoughts, but we’ll screen them first to make sure the conversation is civil.
Some bloggers will accuse us of violating blogospheric standards of openness and spontaneity. That’s life in the big city.
We will use blogs to convey information, sometimes in conventional ways, sometimes not-so. Our notions of journalistic responsibility are perfectly compatible with spirited fun. Do we put David Carr online to be witless? Um, no. Actually, we think he’s pretty witty in the newspaper.
Blogging does impose obligations. Blogs have to be updated frequently. They have to be carefully tended. There are costs; David Carr and Damon Darlin will be spending time they could be using to write newspaper articles. Their bosses have decided that’s an advantageous tradeoff. I agree.
Thoughts? Bring 'em on.December 07, 2005
I still have to check out the NY Times blogs, and I hope to have something good to say later about them.
What do you think about the memo and the blogs?
Post a comment and share your opinion with me. Thanks.
[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate