Posts from August 19, 2004

Is this blog on the final?

Is this blog on the final?

: The New York Times writes about blogs in the classroom and a pioneer in the field, New Jersey’s own Will Richardson, gets some well-deserved attention.

Blog bday

Blog bday

: The Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn has been blogging for a year and he writes a column reflecting on this change in life.

He asked me to blather in email. Always a mistake. Click more if you want to see what I sent him. I’m being quite repetitive with things I’ve said here already; that’s how one hunts for the perfect sound bite….

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Over the line

Over the line

: Rafat Ali alerts us to a new blog advertising option that, unfortunately, gets it wrong.

Blogversations wants marketers to sponsor blogs. So far, so good. The wise marketer, as Chris Locke said in Gonzo Marketing, will see that by underwriting a blogger who shares the same passion, marketers will tell that blogger’s auidience that they, too, share the passion; we’re all in this together.

Blogversations, however, gets it backward. It wants marketers to actively tell a blogger what to discuss and then they will sponsor that discussion. Oh, I’m sure they’ll say they won’t tell the blogger what to say, only the topic. But in my judgment, this goes over the line: It calls into question the blogger’s credibility (would she be talking about this if she weren’t paid to talk about this?). And it is contrary to the essence and appeal of blogs: I talk about what I want to talk about. Love it or leave it, read it or not, sponsor it or not, that’s what we bloggers do.

The truth is that any marketer can probably find just the discussions they want to sponsor without having to artificially inseminate the body blog.

I have the same problem every night when I hear on NPR that so-and-so foundation underwrote not the news on NPR in NPR’s own independent judgment but instead underwrote some specific area of coverage. Would NPR have chosen to cover that area, in its best judgment, if it weren’t being paid to cover it? This puts NPR’s judgment in question. I’m not saying NPR necessarily did anything wrong or anything differently from how it would operate normally; the issue now is that we don’t know.

I’m all for sponsorship and underwriting of blogs. I simply counsel that we have to be careful to maintain our blog integrity, our own voices and views, for that is the real value of this new medium: It’s by real people about real people.

Weirder and weirder

Weirder and weirder

: The McGreevey story is, of course, getting weirder and weirder; these stories always do. Earlier this week, there were rumors of a New Jersey professor who would come out as alleged gubernatorial misterstress Golan Cipel’s gay lover, wrecking his claim that he’s straight. Then, today, the Daily News printed a story about this professor. But it is riddled with so many clues that the guy’s missing a few coffee beans in the grinder that it’s more scandalous that the News printed the story at all. For example:

In a manic, disjointed interview, Miller said that Cipel had made a pillow-talk confession: He still carries a torch for McGreevey….

Miller also claimed to reporters that he is a CIA operative who takes pills doled out by the intelligence agency to make his skin darker so he can infiltrate unnamed groups….

Miller – who insisted on speaking Spanish because, he said, he hates the United States…

“Despite his problems, I’m going to go visit him,” said Miller, shirtless and wearing purple shorts….

The doctor said he was a happily married man with two children, when, at age 38, he acknowledged he was gay.

“One hundred thousand dollars worth of therapy later and I still don’t understand,” Miller said.

And from the Post:

Last night, with his house surrounded by reporters, Miller spoke to the throng in only blue shorts and white socks, his hair disheveled.

At times cursing and erratic, he alternatively told scribes he would talk to them in Hungarian, Spanish or Hebrew.

“He’s a little scattered,” a relative member said.

But I guess he’s news.

Is there a Republican Kos?

Is there a Republican Kos?

: A reporter well-known to all of us asked whether there is a Republican Kos that is “creating his own targeted House and Senate races and getting money” them with Kos-like visitiblity. Can you name any?

Janet Jackson in Abu Ghraib

Janet Jackson in Abu Ghraib

: The Independent does quite a pundit’s two-step to tie Janet Jackson’s nipple to Iraq:

It has been impossible to ponder the issue of public morality in America these past few months without wondering whether we aren’t living in weird parallel universes. In the first, 2004 has been the year in which the United States was caught torturing prisoners in Iraq, was accused of lying about weapons of mass destruction, and was deemed to be violating the US constitution and international law by holding so-called “enemy combatants” indefinitely without trial.

In the second universe, none of these matters one jot: not as moral issues, anyway. In this universe – the province of cable television, talk radio and the strangely hermetic corridors of power in Washington – there has been only one noteworthy moral outrage in 2004, one thing to offend the consciences of decent citizens and make them despair of the nation’s moral fibre.

We are talking, of course, of Janet Jackson’s prime-time breast exposure…

Wow, what a stretch.

Caf competition

Caf competition

: Went to lunch with a friend of a friend yesterday at the Time Inc. cafeteria. Hadn’t been back there for a dozen years, since storming out of the place. Hasn’t changed in all that time — which means it’s looking pretty ratty these days. You’d think our Conde caf would have caused a little competition. Come on, Time Inc., time to update. The rest of the company moves uptown to a damned palace and you’re still stuck in the ’90s.

Not so swift

Not so swift

: I don’t give a hoot about the Swift thing but I will be curious to see today whether all the Swifties out there link to this.