I have a love/hate relationship with blogs. I write this one, often reluctantly, and tend to fill it with photos more often than not because I’m not that comfortable with what some consider to be acceptable blog fare.
We also have a blog on our political web site, Capitol Hill Blue, although Callie Houston edits it and I seldom contribute anything to it.
Part of my concern, I think, is a journalist’s snobbery towards blogs. I admit to sharing some of my journalist colleagues’ beliefs that bloggers, particularly those in the political realm, are little more than reporter wannabes who pass off opinion as fact and speculation for real reporting. I realize this is an elitist view but 40 years of digging through musty courthouse records and pounding the street for information gives me some right to such bias.
This point was brought home recently when a Bill Powers, a friend from my days in Washington, wrote a humorous piece for The National Journal on headlines he’d like to see. One of those was:
Blog to Offer Facts, Polished Writing.
ExoticArnold.com, one of the nation’s top political blogs, will begin offering original factual reports gathered by the blogger himself, Arnold S. Bixby, in regular forays from his apartment in the Dupont Circle section of Washington. In addition, all posts on ExoticArnold.com will now be edited for cogency, style, and rhetorical rigor by an editor with more than two years’ professional experience.
Bill hits upon a complaint that many journalists have about bloggers: the perception that too many of them site in front of their computer in their pajamas (or less) and unleash tirades based on what others have written without doing any honest research themselves. There are exceptions. We have a good one here in Floyd County. David St. Lawrence goes out and gets stories and reports on them on his Ripples blog and contributes as well to FloydCounty.Com.
But too many seem to write with the belief that what they have to say is somehow important and that writing about the same thing day after day is entertaining or interesting to readers. As I look back over Muse I realize that I have fallen into that trap.
So I’m taking the weekend off to retool Muse and try and make it more interesting in the future. That means more about issues here the Blue Ridge and less about moi.
11 thoughts on “The trouble with blogs”
Doug, I really hope you continue to talk about yourself from time to time.. It is very important to me and I think, to other readers of Capitol Hill Blue to get a real idea of just who the hell is writing these stories.. Several years ago, you issued a retraction and vowed you’d move heaven and earth to make sure you never had to issue another one.. Recently, you ordered a complete re-examination of years of stories in order to make certain that CHB held to the highest standards of journalism.. That is the action you took.. People who read Blue Ridge Muse know the other reason WHY we continue to take personal inventory, and if something is not right, WHY we promptly admit it.. That leads to more confidence in your ability and integrity..
And on a personal level, I identify a lot with you and genuinely like to hear about what’s going on with you and yours.. Really..
Good luck on blog redesign. But I leave you with a thought: with familiarity comes ease of use (not to mention the proverbial contempt, which I think you must have found…). I find that one of the reasons reading blogs is so enjoyable is that I know how just about all of them are laid out. I guess we could make books read back to front, or newspapers read middle to back then front… I dunno, but then again, let’s see how this turns out. USA Today brought us color pictures and one-story-per-page. Go fer it.
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