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Editing reporters' blogs?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HejiraHenry, May 24, 2007.

  1. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    This is my view, too. We bash "basement bloggers," for coming across as unprofessional, yet that's what typos do in newspaper blogs.

    Being informal is one thing, but coming across as someone who flunked out of fifth grade is another.

    Hoops, I don't know if you have a beat position or what, but if I see a glaring error (say, a player's name misspelled) in a beat writer's blog, in my mind, that's going to undermine his or her authority in the regular coverage.

    I kind of view blogs/glogs as column-like writing. Use whatever style you want, but make sure it's grammatically correct before it's out there, or it's becomes something that's the equivalent of what those people who are routinely bashed here would crank out.
  2. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    plus, having another set of eyes to assure you're not getting sued isn't such a bad thing either.
  3. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    I'm blogging 500-700 words a day on a relatively small site that I have total responsibility for running. The two things I miss about no longer working for a newspaper are:
    (1) The office banter / spontaneous debates
    (2) Having someone back-checking my stuff before it sees the light of day.

    I've only had about three factual/logic screwups in my blog in the last year -- none of them serious -- but I kick myself for days when I find them or, even worse, a reader finds them.
  4. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    I agree, I think you need the blogs to be edited as long as the editor understands that the standards of actual writing style may be a little different than the regular main sheet. Also, I think there is generally more leeway for opinion --- but someone else better read it for all for all of the reasons mentioned here.
  5. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I'm in a mixed situation on this, pretty weird, in fact.

    First, I think blogs should be able to be added to 24 hours a day, so I'm firmly in the "if you don't trust them to do a blog right, they shouldn't have a blog" camp. Yes, they're still part of a newspaper's content. But yes, they're also an entirely different animal from regular newspaper content of 20 years ago.

    At our place, anybody inside the office can do a blog -- with all the standard caveats concerning taste, accuracy, etc. -- and this applies to editors, producers -- anybody who wants to do one. These are largely unedited, and we haven't had any major problems. Obviously, the quality covers a wide range.

    The weird part is that all of our top writers, because they don't directly access our production tools, have to send a text file that's then dealt with by an editor. So our best people are edited more than the less experienced people are.

    Like I said, weird.

    But after all that, to me the ideal situation is that any writer can access their blog at any time, and they shouldn't be waiting for an editor. And that you trust everybody to be professional, correct as necessary, and that's the way it works.

    Like I said, I understand the "it's part of the newspaper" camp. But blogs are supposed to be journals, and I don't think standard editing applies.

    Finally, though, concerning the initial post: Having an editor who's in charge of the whole blog space and monitors quality or whatever is a pretty important thing, too.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    It's not typos and grammar that concern me so much, it's the fact that even some good writers sometimes turn in some raw copy for the print edition that make them look pretty stupid, and we're kidding ourselves if we believe that if a writer loses credibility in one medium, he doesn't lose it in the other medium. An old boss once said, "Better to look like an idiot in front of one person than 40,000."

    I don't buy this crap that the blog loses its spontaneity if it's edited. Our professionalism ought to be what separates us from the basement types, we do not want to be like them.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    But if you are being edited, is it really a blog?
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Nope, not to me. That's the point. But Frank, we can agree to reasonably disagree.
  9. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Of course we can reasonably disagree. But if a writer makes an ass of himself on radio or TV, does that not carry over to print? I don't see how blogs are exempt. We seem to be taking that attitude that readers see it as, "Oh, it's a blog, different standards apply." I think it's more along the lines of, "So this is how he really writes before they fix his fuckups. Geez, what a moron."

    I do not think readers make the distinction that it's a different product. A while back on a non-journalism message board, some people were going totally spastic about a "slanted" headline on the San Francisco Chronicle's Web site. I tried to explain to them that 1.) what they saw on the Web site was not necessarily what they would have seen in the newspaper, 2.) newspaper Web sites have much smaller editing operations than the newsprint edition and thus the product is less scrutinized and 3.) the goal on the Web site is to get it on there quickly; it lacks the permanence of newsprint, so they can change it whenever they want. Those people didn't want to hear that it was essentially a different (and in some ways inferior) product, it was the Chron with a left-wing agenda. I think the readers do not see blogs as a different product that needs to be taken less seriously.
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Well, perhaps. But we don't edit that, either.
  11. funky_mountain

    funky_mountain Active Member

    i prefer that someone takes a look at/edits my blog entries after i post. it doesn't always happen though but the timeliness of the item can't always wait for an editor either. i don't want an editor meddling too much. blogs should be edited for typos, AP style and factual items. but i don't want an editor messing with the writer's style on a blog. a lot of desks feel taxed as it is.

    as to the question about your friend ... if someone is willing to take on the additonal responsibility, i don't see much of a problem as long as that person isn't creating a problem with the blogs or trying to step on toes. your friend should guide the news editor, and there's a chance the news editor is just looking for a way to become more valuble in a multimedia environment.
  12. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

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