Sunday, March 26, 2006

From the Blue Plate Special, observations on newspaper blogs/comments

(These bear on yesterday's "speechless" post.)

Some relevant quotes from PressThink's Blue Plate Special -
[Kinsey Wilson, Executive Editor of USA TODAY], who describes user activity as a "journalistic tool," (not a user’s right) leans toward relatively heavy control over comments on his blogs. Bloggers screen all comments they receive, and remove any profanity, personal attacks, or off-topic posts.

"My goal is to, ideally, promote conversation that is both civil and on point..."
He has no qualms about about stifling wide-ranging debate. "There are lots of places that people can go for that kind of thing."

This is a luxury smaller papers may not be able to afford. "At the local level, it really is a different issue," he says. "The newspaper is, partially, the town square." *
The Houston Chronicle’s early blogging efforts were scoffed at by some because their blogs were really online columns, not blogs.
...[Later] software allowed to start accepting comments on their blogs. It was then that the real conversation began. Looking closely at the Chron blogs, and watching the section over time, you see the staff, using real names, interacting a lot with readers. They seem to understand the public dialogue with those people formerly known as the audience.*
Simon Waldman..."I hardly ever see personal blogs from staff at other newspapers or media organisations. Frankly, unless you’ve kept a blog for a while, it’s very hard to understand the attraction of it and how to do it successfully."
...Oddly, many ...[newspaper "blogs" are just] blog-type sites that aren’t truly blogs ...[since they don't] provide links to other blogs and attract comments. With the exception of the Guardian and the Telegraph, none of the newspaper blogs above really link to anything outside of their own newspaper’s website. That’s short-sighted.*

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