Patterico's Pontifications

2/24/2005

Bloggers Access the Wire: AP Puts Up RSS Feeds

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 9:16 pm

Pretty cool. You can access them here. (Via BuzzMachine.)

Why Do You (Not) Read the Los Angeles Times?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:11 pm

I have a simple question for you, and I would like an answer from as many people as possible:

Do you read the L.A. Times? If so, why? If not, why not?

If you have cancelled your subscription, tell us why.

What bugs you about the paper? Is there anything about it that you do like?

Even if you have expressed your views on these issues before, please explain them again here.

Ideally, I’d like to get a response from all of my readers. All ten of you.

I said this morning that the reporters and editors at The Times could learn a lot by reading the comments here. Dafydd ab Hugh then e-mailed me with the excellent suggestion that I should devote a single comment thread to readers’ views about The Times.

Be as brief or as detailed as you like. I may leave this post at the top of the page, as long as I am getting responses.

Bloggers: if you blog your answer and e-mail me with the link, I will link your post at the bottom of this post. Consider it a minor-league version of Hugh Hewitt’s Vox Bloguli.

Once we have a good collection of answers, I will send the link to someone at The Times. You never know: it could even be fodder for a future “Outside the Tent” piece.

UPDATE: The first blogger to blog his response to my question: Hugh Hewitt. Thanks to Hugh for getting people involved — and for being the first blogger (as far as I know) to come up with the idea of the online symposium.

UPDATE x2: BoiFromTroy blogs his answer.

UPDATE x3: Here is the response of California Mafia.

UPDATE x4: More comments at this thread at “Oh, That Liberal Media.”

UPDATE x5: Still more comments here.

Suggestion for Mainstream Media Types Who Are Feeling Threatened By Blogs

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Media Bias — Patterico @ 7:00 am

I have a very simple suggestion for mainstream media types who feel in any way threatened by bloggers: whenever you hear the word “blogger,” think: “reader.”

After all, bloggers who aren’t discussing your newspaper are irrelevant to you. And bloggers who are discussing your newspaper are simply part of your readership.

In other words, they’re your customers. And, while the customer may not always be right, the customer deserves to have his complaints heard.

The main difference between your readers who are bloggers and your other readers is that your blogging readers have a voice — one that you can’t entirely control. On an individual level, each voice is ridiculously small; for 99% of bloggers (including me), it can’t even arguably begin to compare to the power of the newspaper’s voice. Still, it’s more than we had before.

While the voices of the bloggers may tend to be more critical, they are also more engaged. For them, reading the newspaper and thinking about news are important pursuits. These are the people you should be listening to.

Once you realize that bloggers are your readers, it may help you be less dismissive of bloggers’ opinions.

Let’s play a game: pick a recent quote from a mainstream media representative that is dismissive of bloggers. (There are plenty out there, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one.) Take my suggestion and substitute the word “reader” for “blogger” and see how the quote sounds.

I’ll start by altering a recent quote from David Shaw of the L.A. Times. I am changing one word, substituting “readers” for “bloggers”:

But some readers are just self-important ranters who seem to wake up every morning convinced that the entire Free World awaits their opinions on any subject that’s popped into their heads . . .

Doesn’t that sound just a little bit jarring? Shaw probably would not have made this statement about readers. But why not? The altered quote is certainly a true statement — just as Shaw’s actual statement about bloggers was true. But either quote is also wildly unrepresentative of the group as a whole.

Print journalists: think of bloggers as your readers — because they are. They were your readers, with these same opinions, before they had blogs. Now they have a way to voice those opinions. If you’re really interested in your readers’ opinions, you should be listening.

P.S. My point has extra validity when you take into account blog commenters. For example, this is one blog, and I am one newspaper reader. But hundreds have stopped by to comment here about the Los Angeles Times. All of these people, at one time, have been readers of that newspaper (though many have cancelled their subscriptions). If David Shaw dismisses bloggers as self-important because we maintain online journals and publish our opinions every day, it is harder for him to so easily dismiss the opinions of our commenters.

As much as it pains me to say it, L.A. Times reporters and editors visiting this blog would actually do well to spend less time reading my posts, and more time cruising through my comments, listening to what their readers (and former readers!) have to say. They might learn something.

UPDATE: In the spirit of that last comment, I hope readers of the Los Angeles Times will register their opinions about the paper in the comments to this post. Bloggers, feel free to blog your reactions and send me the link — I will link your posts in that same post.

UPDATE x2: Welcome to Instapundit readers!

Hugh Hewitt’s Book “Blog”

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 6:14 am

I have just finished Hugh Hewitt’s book Blog.

I’m probably not an ideal reviewer of this book, for at least two reasons.

First: it’s hard to be objective about a book that mentions your own blog. The reviewer’s natural inclination is to voice respect for the author’s obvious good judgment in including the reviewer’s blog in the book. I am no different.

Second: I already know about the blogosphere. The book appears to be aimed primarily at an audience that is largely ignorant of blogs. Hugh’s goal is to touch them about blogs’ importance.

For such people, I think the book will be a valuable introduction. I’ll probably give it to my dad, who reads my blog, but (as far as I know) reads few others, if any. People like my dad will no doubt be interested in Hugh’s accounts of various blogging success stories, such as the Trent Lott affair, the CBS forged documents scandal, and the success of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. For most blogging veterans, these are familiar stories. Hugh retells them well and accurately, with his familiar partisan zeal.

Hugh also does a good job of explaining why the blogging phenomenon is a revolution in the way we spread information. For those who want more detail, Dan Gillmor’s We, the Media explains it more thoroughly — but Hugh’s explanation is punchier and perhaps better suited to those who have less time to learn about the blogging phenomenon. (Gillmor also shows excellent judgment in his selection of blogs to discuss — meaning my blog is mentioned there too.)

Hugh’s book is somewhat less convincing when he advocates blogging in the corporate context. He appropriately warns the corporate types of The First Rule of Blogging: always assume that anything you write could be read by anyone, and that — despite your best efforts to remain anonymous — they will learn who you are. But in light of this rule, it’s hard to imagine conservative corporate types deciding that blogging about the company is worth the risk. For most people, as with me, blogging and work just don’t mix.

That quibble aside, I recommend the book to anyone who knows little or nothing about blogs, and wants to know what the fuss is about. For those of us who are familiar with the blogosphere, you may not learn much. Still, it’s a quick and fun read, and you may still want to read the book to find out whether Hugh had the good judgment to mention your blog. The book has no index of blogs mentioned, so you’ll have to read the whole thing to find out.

Captain Ed on Schiavo

Filed under: Schiavo — Patterico @ 5:58 am

Captain Ed has a good post on Terri Schiavo and the value of life in our society.


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