TVW's Inside Olympia trips over blogs again

Last Thursday the Seattle Times' David Postman hosted John Hughes, Editor and Publisher of The Daily World in Aberdeen and Bryan Johnson, Senior Correspondent/Analyst for KOMO, and they did their best to talk about blogs, but they ended up tripping all over themselves. The first time TVW hosted a blog tripper was Terry Thompson, a Democratic campaign consultant, last summer (here and here).

I posted the audio of Postman, Hughes and Johnson talking about their impression about blogs here, but generally speaking, they messed up in thinking that blog readers are dumb enough not to realize that blogs aren't newspapers.

And, in terms of disclosure, I worked for the Daily World for a year or so during college. I was a sports clerk, which meant I answered the phones on Friday and Saturday nights, and sometimes covered games. Those were great days and I loved working for Hughes, if not directly under his direction. The Daily World is one of the best newspapers in the state, of any size.

I can't buy the contention that the same people that question the objectivity of a newspaper would take as Gospel whatever a blog is saying. I'm not disagreeing with these guys that the integrity and objectivity of good newspapers (and television stations) is vital. What I am saying is that people are smart enough, generally media savvy enough, to tell the difference between a blog and a newspaper.

When Johnson says "they don't intensify themselves, they don't say: this is a liberal blog," it almost makes me wince.

Then he continues, saying that people honestly believe that "I read it on the blog, it must be true." That is actually the opposite of what actually happens.

There is a lot more knowledge out there from the average internet reader on where bloggers are coming from.The point of blogs, especially this blog (though maybe not my posts) is that people can and do question whatever is being said. They can point to posts them disagree with, they can disagree with bloggers in comment threads. They can do a heck of a lot more than email or phone up and editor, or just gripe while throwing the paper into the recycling bin.

It is a conversation. A lot of people may be wrong, but you can tell them that their wrong.

Their last point, wondering how people have the time to blog and do wikipedia was depressing. A lot of reporters (I got back from the National Writers Workshop in Portland last night, and this was a point they made there) take reporting seriously because they hope that their readers take their subjects seriously. We have the time because we care. We care about politics, sports and our communities around us.

I like what newspapers do, and I honestly appreciate it, but there is a point when I'd like to jump into the water too and take a look around. Postman, Hughes and Johnson may think I'm not as clear of a writer and my opinion comes out a bit too much, but we spend time blogging because blogging matters.

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I fail to believe that the mainstream media is this clueless in missing the whole point of the blogosphere.

I think what's happening here is that the MSM is not happy with having to compete for eyeballs.  Old school newspapers are having real trouble keeping subscribers.  Also, these journos are not used to  receiving criticism from the left, similar to the criticisms they've received from the right all these years under talk radio.

I'm sorry, but people know the ideological slant of a given blog, it comes with the territory.  To claim otherwise smacks of whining because the ad revenues are down.

by Chris Bassett on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 05:54:44 PM PST

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