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Editing reporters' blogs?

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

  1. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member


    I have a real problem with the unnecessary segregation between a newspaper's Web site and the print version that exists at so many newspapers. There's no reason that washingtonpost.com should run a different flag from The Washington Post's print version.

    If you post a blog under your newspaper's Web site, you're still representing your newspaper and if you screw up, it still reflects on you and on your newspaper. That's why I think blogs should be edited the same way you'd edit print. It may not be anything like you'd see in print, but that doesn't excuse your responsibility -- or your newspaper's -- to make sure your copy is accurate, fair, and well-written.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    There is a real good reason for a segregation between the website and the print product. One arrives at your doorstep at 6 a.m. and one is online 24 hours a day and has virtually unlimited space.

    Anway, maybe this thinking goes into it:

    Say you are blogging at 11 at night or 7 in the morning. Are you going to wait till an editor looks at it till it gets posted? Is that wise?

    What about if its newsy or about something going on?

    So if you -- as an editor -- say it's OK for the writer to post some things without editing (because if you kick up a fuss does that mean you will be on call 24 hours a day? Yikes!) you may just say the hell with it and we'll let you blog whenever.

    Also, the whole setup of blogs is so one person and one person only can post items to his/her blog whenever he/she feels like it. It's a lot cheaper and easier for papers to use blogger services that are out there than create something in house.

    Just how do you edit something if you don't have access to it?
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I are too do...
    But I would tend to think a blog is different than a story in the paper...
  4. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    Note that I meant reaction to "breaking news" (a TV term I hate), not the actual news, although that is fine as well if that is the way your site is set up. The "breaking news" could be posted in the blog, then that blog link put on the main page.
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Why break news on a blog instead of with a traditional news story on the main Web page? This is why I think it's a fad: What is it that you think you can do on a blog that you can't do with a story on the Web site? I think people are in love with the idea that blogs are something different, but the content is pretty much the same stuff, only less professional without the editing.
  6. John

    John Well-Known Member

    My favorite blog is done by a baseball writer that's an old friend. He blogs before the game, during and sometimes he'll add some thoughts and additional quotes after. There are spelling errors, insights on things that have nothing to do with baseball and tons of other stuff that let his personality shine through with every post -- stuff that would never belong in a game story or anywhere else in the paper.

    And this week he's averaging nearly 300 comments per game, despite the fact that the team he covers sucks.

    It would be nearly impossible to edit his blog since he's adding to it every few minutes, but nobody seems to mind.
  7. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    You're both right in your own ways.

    There are many out there searching for answers to Mainstream Media's (i.e. newspapers) ongoing readership problems. One school of thought casts its lot with the web without really understanding it all that clearly. A lot of what they throw online under the heading of "blog" is the sort of shit that used to be known simply as a "user home page" -- those 2 megs of server space that Roadrunner gives you when you sign up for Internet access. Whether we're talking about John Doe's family home page or the Podunk Times-Herald's web site it ends up coming across as static, innocuous, unfulfilling and underachieving.

    On the other hand, hyper-active blogging -- i.e., frequent and fascinating, chock full of useful information interspersed with Dennis Miller-esque, stream of (un)consciousness wit -- can have a real place in the "legitimate" media. It just needs to be done well and done right.

    And that takes me back to the original point; It can be different in style and substance from what the newspaper publishes in print, but it should still adhere to standards and be subject to some level of editing/oversight. Clearly, though, that requires moving resources so that there's always a gatekeeper available to process it. That's easier said than done except for the largest 20 or 30 newspapers at this juncture. But I bet it will be S.O.P. at all of the surviving dailies within 10 years.
  8. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    I find it unbelievable that there are bloggers on this thread admitting they make typos and other mistakes that get through on their blogs.

    Is it too much for writers to take a couple extra minutes--tops--and proof their own copy before they post it???!!!

    For cryin' out loud.
  9. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    Oh, you mean in a story you can point out a story by another paper/site and give your reaction to it?

    A blog is, usually, meant to be a lot more personal than a story.

    I can't believe you don't get the concept, Frank. I know it can't be some total anti-online bias, can it?
  10. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    But then you are not talking about breaking news, you are talking about a cheesy way to compensate for getting beat on breaking news, without, you know, doing some actual reporting yourself. And this we need why? Get the story, whether you break it or you play followup. Your "reaction" to someone else breaking a story is just worthless twaddle, and I mean worthless in its most literal sense, completely without worth. I can't believe you don't get that concept.
  11. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    Frank, I know of at least one paper in which reporters did break news on blogs because of the timing of the news (lazy web guys were home asleep) and the reporters physically could not post the news on the main web page.

    And I know of at least one paper that now has a vehicle that allows its reporters to do that -- unedited, of course.
  12. Donegan17

    Donegan17 New Member

    they should be edited for typos and facts and things of that nature but a blog should be more opinion, but when's the last time you saw a retraction on a blog?

    In a perfect world the reporters would just self-edit on blogs. I know I'd make sure I didn't slip up out of personal pride rather than professional standards or libel issues. But a lot of reporters-turned-bloggers seem to want to just shoot from the hip rather than use the medium for anything worth saying, those types need outside editing.
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