Saturday, November 11, 2006

Don't Have To Kiss Your (Editor's) Ass Anymore

The experts agree: blogging is addictive. It's addictive with an audience of 100 uniques a day. Imagine the beast you've got to feed when you're at 100K, as is writer Andrew Sullivan.

Sullivan has some wonderful insights into the liberating sensation blogging fuels the writer with, thus making blogging such a powerful and intriguing medium compared to tired old media ways:
It is addictive. I also found it just amazing, as a writer who had been in the mainstream media and actually edited a regular weekly magazine and dealt with publishers, other editors, owners, and other stuff. To actually just have yourself and your readers -- to get rid of all the people you have to basically suck up to. Not to have to suck up to anyone anymore was so liberating, especially after my five years at The New Republic, which were not marked by my obvious skills at people management.

Full piece here.

But set the content-providing thrills aside (and yes, bloggers do provide content -- valuable, marketable content) and think of the wonderful garden paths blogs send the reader traipsing down.

A quick check to a blogger pal's, Chris Boese's, blog finds that Chris used to play high school basketball against the woman who just got elected Governor of Alaska, the most oil-rich state in the nation, as Chris reminds the reader. Talk about an interesting perspective you weren't really going to find in a paper.

Surely not in the AJC as they can't even recognize a good story in their own backyard. Case in point, yesterday the AJC's most popular/most emailed story was about Shirley Franklin's response to the recent John Eaves campaign ad controversy, the same ad controversy that had become a NATIONAL conversation.

But did the AJC put the story on the front page of the print version? No! They could have scrawled The Passion of Shirley Franklin above the fold and sold a ton of papers yesterday. Instead, they put a smallish image of Newt there and a bland, uninspired story about the Mayor inside on the Metro section cover, a story that told the reader nothing about Shirley's anger and emphatic stance at the Commerce Club speech on Wednesday. You'd have thought the Mayor was just whistling Dixie at the podium from their version of it!

But in reality, she was pissed-off and fired-up, and directing that fury at a room full of aging, white, corporate and civic power-suits. I know because I was there, and blogged it.

The other thing worth noting was that the news of Shirley's fiery response was cranked-out to the public just an hour or so after it occurred, not by the AJC, but by an independent blogger.

So not only can the AJC not tell a story worth a damn, nor put a story on the front page that should be on the front page because it's part of a national conversation, they are headed for a scenario where bloggers will soon start stealing their online readership, too.

The AJC deserves every bit of its declining print readership conundrum. Why these media giants still even bother with print is beyond me. Just put out a boutique-y little thing for the old folks and go at the Internet with guns blazing. If you ask me, which of course no one did.


griftdrift said...

"valuable, marketable content"

Amen, sister!

Possum said...

Just got finished talking with an AJC writer at a football-watching party. He said the place is near chaos, with editors worrying about plunging circulation, pending buyouts and even possible layoffs. Their heads are way up their asses. They're in panic mode and they're not capable of doing a decent job at what they've been doing, much less venturing out in a new and bolder way. Boo fucking hoo.

Panda's Keeper said...

Yeah, I'm all torn-up too.