The nonstory: What a crock

The nonstory
: What a crock today’s NY Times delivers: A story that tries to trot out page 476 from the journalism cliche book and relate it to blogs: Are blogs male-dominated?

That kind of quotathink does not work here for two simple reasons:

(1) Anyone of any gender who wants to start a blog can. Nobody will stop them. So you can’t argue that some bigger power structure — blog executives, the old blog boys club — is stopping them. The only thing stopping nonbloggers from blogging is themselves. That, after all, is the whole point of this new medium: It’s anybody’s. It’s everybody’s.

(2) There are many, many great women bloggers. I don’t need to start listing them. You know them.

Even the writer has to admit that there is no frigging point to her story: “But women are, in fact, blogging in big numbers.”

So why write it? Why print it? Just because it fits?

: Says Frankenstein in the comments: “I think that the writer just wanted to increase her hits.” My, how cynical. How true.

: Glenn Reynolds (who corrected my grammar with a discreet elipses… I just corrected my almost-a-double-negative myself) says I may be a bit tough on the Times story, but then he takes them to task for not interviewing more women, since there are many hereabouts.

: Want women? Try Elizabeth Spiers, Meg Hourigan, Moira Breen, Asparagirl, Jane Galt, Andrea Harris, Natalie Solent, Amy Langfield, Kathy Shaidle, Emmanuelle Richard, Joanne Jacobs, Denise Howell, Rebecca Blood, Janice Abrahams, HolyWeblog, Amy Welborn, lots o’ libertarians, Lynn Sislo, Rossi, Moxie, Dawn Olsen, Jenny the librarian, Shiloh Bucher, Gillian Hadley, most of the Kitchen Cabinet, and the woman behind MSNBC’s Weblogs, Joan Connell, just to name a few.

: Want to talk quotas? How come there aren’t more middle-aged men here? Everytime I talk to bloggers, I feel old. There has to be a law against that.

  • http://paulfrankenstein.org/ Frankenstein

    I think that the writer just wanted to increase her hits.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    “Whenever I found a woman’s blog, I would find links to another handful, which led to another dozen, and so on…”
    Pathetic. Who, other than an New York Times writer, would click blog links based on the gender of the blogger?
    My take on all this can be read at:
    http://photoncourier.blogspot.com

  • http://weisblogg.pitas.com marc weisblott

    More spurious still–kinda inside baseball but us on the front lines of the blogging game can appreciate it–there’s a reference to one woman being on the list of Salon.com’s “most visited blogs.” Anyone paying attention to Salon’s half-assed blog project knows that there are maybe ten people who’ve stuck with hosting their blogs there beyond the trial period–if they even last that long. And, interestingly, the only Salon Blog that’s mustered any buzz in da blogosphere is the Reverse Cowgirl’s page … which, incidentally, is entirely dedicated to porn (and little actual text, at that–not that the subject demands it).

  • Old Grouch

    Nonstories like this often stem from the publication’s “diversity initiatives.” These well-intentioned attempts to make sure that news coverage reaches past “traditional white male” issues have rapidly become excuses for producing journalistically-questionable advocacy pieces, ludicrously slanted coverage (fictional New York Times headline: “World Ends Tomorrow, Women and Minorities Affected Most”) and introducing ethnic quotas into newsrooms (everyone knows “white” reporters really can’t cover “black” issues).
    Some media companies rank their “diversity” efforts right up there with their newsgathering: “Even in difficult times, we must carry out our responsibilities to do investigative journalism and pursue diversity goals –Phil Currie, Senior Vice President/News, Gannett Corp.
    There’s more at the Poynter Institute’s page. Their articles answer a lot of those “why did they even print this?” questions.
    The Times story appears to be one that was supposed to fit the “women are are blocked from doing (fill in the blank) because of male (choose one or more:) indifference/oppression/hostility” template, but the reporter discovered that the old scapegoats didn’t apply. Recently my local paper ran a similar one (sorry, link is gone) which was supposed to be a “minority children enrolled in private schools don’t do as well as whites” story… except it turned out that the minorities were doing equally well. Rather than drop it, they wrote it anyway, with the result exhibiting a similar degree of aimlessness to the Times’ effort.
    Such stories may demonstrate the newspaper’s desire to give “every(ethnic, gender)body” their space in the coverage. But to me they too often smack of “journalism in the service of propaganda.” And this concentration on identified groups may act to divide us just when unity is most important.

  • Old Grouch

    Later thought:

    “Want to talk quotas? How come there aren’t more middle-aged men here?”

    O.G. is 55. Maybe they’re hiding in the comments ;o)

  • http://www.photodude.com/index.shtml PhotoDude

    I think there’s more middle aged men with web logs than you might imagine (said the 44 year old). It’s just that our blogs look so young.

  • http://spleenville.com/ Andrea Harris

    Well, just look at the first sentence of the story: “A few months ago I joined legions of other online narcissists and decided to start a Weblog.” (Emphasis mine.) I know just from that not to expect a serious article.

  • http://rodgerschuester.com/ Rodger Schhuester

    Didn’t know you were an old fart like me. No matter, I won’t delink you. :-))) Dry Mouth Trumpeter

  • dave

    If you get past the headline it seems the writer concedes that anyone can start a blog – and women frequently do. It seems more like she is complaining that an “old boy network” in the blogosphere means men link only to men, leaving the women in the cold. It is baloney of course. I think Old Grouch is right.

  • http://users2.ev1.net/~file13/blog/ Laurence Simon

    There’s also the fact that many of the major blogs were *designed* by women, or more specifically, one woman.

  • http://www.dustbury.com/ CGHill

    Anyone who feels old talking to me (I’m 49) is old, dammit.