Keller of The Times writes: The final chapter

Keller of The Times writes: The final chapter

: I got one last email from New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller. Here it is, with my response.

But I need to explain the T-shirt. At the end of our last exchange, I said that because he knew his emails would be posted in public, he was truly blogging and I welcomed him to the club (read: cult). He emailed me and asked when he was getting a T-shirt. I sent him an “I’m Blogging This” shirt. Now I’m dying to get a picture of him in it. So now to the emails. First, Bill Keller:

Jeff,

I’ve mustered enough steam for one last round before I return my full attention to my other job.

I’m not going to re-litigate your dispute with The Times over the Sarah Boxer piece. Anyone who cares can read Dan Okrent’s evenhanded account in his forum at the NYT website, which also includes an extensive response from Jon Landman, the culture editor. I agree with Landman, and I tip my hat to Okrent on one important point, the dangers of blurring the line between criticism and straight reporting. I think your reaction to Boxer’s piece was way, way over the top, especially in its suggestion that she somehow endangered the lives of Iraqi bloggers, a slur that Landman thoroughly debunks.

My study of the blog culture is, I readily admit, very cursory and incomplete, but it’s striking that there seems to be no end to any argument in your world. Every grievance is recycled endlessly, not necessarily spiraling up to a higher level of enlightenment but starting over and over from scratch. It’s Groundhog Day. You were angry about Sarah Boxer’s piece. You wrote to The Times. You got a thoughtful response from the editor in charge, and an additional thoughtful kibbitz from the public editor. But in your complaint to me, you take up the argument from the beginning, as if the replies from Landman and Okrent had not happened, or had not registered. Perhaps that’s because at each turn of the rhetorical wheel new viewers are skimming past who have not, or cannot be bothered to, read into the history of the argument. And so, in each go-round, there’s incentive to resurrect every point in your original indictment, even those that may have been discredited or rendered irrelevant, in hopes of converting the half-informed newcomer. Maybe the blog world needs an equivalent of the courtroom admonition, “asked and answered.”

That’s one thing I was driving at when I remarked on the dynamic of this particular, wonderful but sometimes infuriating medium. It is massively inclusive but everyone brings to it an individual appetite and a sense of entitlement, regardless of whether they have done the homework. You can join the discussion from a position of raw, opinionated ignorance. Sometimes the result is less a conversation than a clamor. Last time, I expressed some frustration that thrice-removed versions of something I said had scattered across the digital globe and prompted reactions that bore no relation to anything I had actually said or thought. Your solution, if I get your drift, was that I should go blog-to-blog, dropping in and conversing, winning friends and setting the record straight. Easy for you to say, since you seem to live without sleep. By the same standard, I could probably win friends for The Times by going door to door in Queens, extolling and explaining the paper to prospective readers, but is that the best use of my time? Direct democracy may work in a Swedish canton, but it doesn’t scale very well, and I kind of think the same thing is true of “citizen’s” journalism. I suspect that for blogging to achieve the status its practitioners aspire to, it will have to become a bit less retail, a little more edited, a little more a product of judgment. In other word, a bit more…like us, the MSM. In fact, it is already happening, isn’t it?

One thing we have not discussed about blogs is the extent to which they are a waste of time. The thing that struck me during my week or so of very elementary and intermittent bloggery is that it is very seductive. (It also helps overcome byline withdrawal.) It would be easy to shirk my job and swap thoughts with you and yours, and the time flies by and at the end we’ve generated an exchange that will be skimmed in haste by some number of people, to what end? And the same thing that is true of blogging is true of reading blogs, which I do pretty regularly: you can while away endless hours, skipping over the surface of half-baked thoughts and every so often colliding with something original or unexpected. Or you could play with your kids. Or go to a museum. Or read a good book. (Or a good newspaper!) The blogosphere may be interactive, but can you honestly say that the ratio of thoughtful conversation to meaningless chatter is any higher than it is on, say, cable TV talk shows? For now, at least, I prefer a newspaper — even granting that it costs more and that I am — in part — entrusting the acquisition of information, the selection of what’s important and the making sense of it to someone else. For now, for me, bloggers are a prequel and a sequel, but not the main event. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

I’ve found it educational and satisfying and a lot more fun than I’d have expected. You’ve been a gracious host and a stimulating interlocutor, and I love the T-shirt. I owe you two things: a live chat, which I would propose to do chez moi (nytimes.com ought to get some traffic out of this, yes?) and perhaps you have some thoughts about how to proceed and make it more inclusive without it just being a free-for-all rant, if that’s avoidable. And I owe you a cup of coffee, over which I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on what concretely we can do to advance our common interests. I’ll call to figure out a time, and promise to bring an open mind.

For now, the last word is yours.

Cheers, Bill

And my response:

Bill,

First, thanks for taking the time and effort to have this conversation and for making it both challenging and cordial. I’ve enjoyed and appreciated this.

Now to your points…

So we disagree. But there is value in that. Perhaps if we have honed in on our differences — which are few — we can say that we agree about everything else. Well, perhaps.

I debated whether to bring Sarah Boxer’s Iraqi blog story into our exchange, out of respect for our blossoming collegiality. But when you raised a specific complaint about your treatment in the blogosphere, I decided that my encounter with the Timesphere was the most fitting counterpart I could produce. Now I’m glad I brought it up, for it’s good that we identify the differences; that is part of the process of defining this new thing we have and how it relates to the old.

And we do disagree: I stand by what I said; you stand by the story. I don’t think the story was up to Times standards; you do — and you, after all, are the man who sets those standards. You also disagree with my prescription for how you could have treated your blog virus (more on that in a minute). But those differences are not the point here. They are (with apologies to Eason Jordan) collateral damage in this discussion. Here, I think, is real revelation that comes from this particular back-and-forth:

I’m glad I brought up the Boxer story because I’m glad you called my response to it “way, way over the top” — because that illustrates the more fundamental difference between these media. Namely…

Blogs are personal. Bloggers are passionate.

Journalism is institutional. Journalists are dispassionate.

Blogs are just people talking. And maybe that’s the way journalists should look at them. Oh, yes, blogs do journalism. But when you read bloggers and think of them in your terms as journalists — and then you hear these voices that are passionate, personal, brash, opinionated, immediate, irreverent, persistent, grating, and loud — I’ll bet it shoots a hot spike up your spine. Journalists don’t talk like that! Mobs do! I understand that. I went to J-school and drank from the cup. It was hard for me to deprogram when I became a columnist, let alone a blogger. But I’ve come to cherish this new medium precisely because the voice is so earnest and honest and human.

So, if you want, think of bloggers not as journalists but as citizens (no, sorry, I almost forgot you didn’t like that). Or think of them as the people (no, that’s still not it — too Internationale, don’t you think?). Instead, think of bloggers as readers (if we’re lucky). But to paraphrase Jay Rosen, these readers can now write — and so your writers should now be reading. Do you and your staff want to hear what your readers have to say? I hope you do. Of course, you do. Well, blogs give you a new way to listen… without having to knock on doors in Queens (or Washington).

And, by the way, I wasn’t suggesting that you needed to respond to every blogger — or knock on every door — in the case of your remixed quote. If you had responded directly to one of the bloggers — challenged them, called them on taking you out of context — I’ll guarantee that bloggers themselves would have spread your response for you. That’s how this distributed medium works: our audience gives us content and distribution and marketing.

To reply to a few of your other points, just to wrap things up:

You’re quite right that — knowing this exchange was going to be public and knowing that your involvement would bring in new participants — I should have linked to the earlier responses regarding Boxer’s story from Okrent and Landman in Dan’s forum. I violated our ethic of the link, which we hold dear if not holy (it is our best proof that we are not an echo chamber). So when I post this email, I will post those links.

You’re also right that discussions don’t seem to end here, or that they take their own damned sweet time doing so. But I say that’s good for a few reasons: First, this isn’t a paper with limited pages or a show with limited minutes or, yes, a medium with an editor; here, everyone who wants a day gets a say; the populist in me loves that. Second, the persistence of the blogs sometimes milks the wisdom of the crowd; that is, in Rathergate, one person knew about Microsoft Word, another about Selectrics, another about how the Guard works, and together they got closer to the truth than Rather did (on TV, we’d call that team coverage). Third, if big media’s greatest strength in the public arena is bigness, then bloggers’ greatest strength is that persistence. Bloggers did not stop hammering on Trent Lott (or rather on big media to cover the story) or on Dan Rather (who tried to dismiss the discussion). Persistence yields volume if more people post and link and discuss a story or a notion — if, as we say, the meme propagates [good Lord, I can hear you thinking, why can't these people just speak English?]. If that doesn’t happen, the story, the notion, the meme dies a just death.

I also want to respond to your view that blogs are too massively inclusive and need editing. Blogs are edited — by bloggers. And I don’t mean that just in the words of Ken Layne: “We can fact-check your ass.” I mean that thanks to our ethic of the link, the cream rises. Look at Technorati, where links approximate “authority.” This new medium is neither anarchy nor direct democracy. It is very much a meritocracy.

And, finally, I clearly don’t think that blogging — reading or writing — is a waste of time. I don’t read all blogs. I read the good ones (good as defined by one judge: me — which is why I can indeed say that blogs, for me, beat Crossfire). These blogs save me time. As Jeff Greenfield at CNN told me one night, he starts every morning reading blogs because they find the good bits for him. That is the essential value proposition of news blogs: We read for you. But more important than that, if blogs do help me to hear the voice of the people, then I don’t consider that to be a waste of time, not a bit.

Now, at last, let’s end on our fundamental agreement: I, too trust newspapers — for news. Even if they won’t admit it, I think most bloggers also trust most newspapers for most of the news (or they wouldn’t link to them; they’d have little to link to). But what I trust blogs for is hearing the voice of those people. In that way, these media are complementary, even if they don’t know it. And that, Bill, is where we began.

I look forward to chatting (but I’ll issue a challenge: if you wear your blog T-shirt, I’ll wear a Times apron and green eyeshade).

I’m sorry that I went on longer (we are unaccustomed to the scarcity of ink or paper). Also, being that I had the first word, I should have given you the last. But, hey, we’re bloggers. We believe there is no last word….

Best,

-jeff

: You can read the entire exchange with Keller here (start at the bottom and scroll up)

: LATER: Gawker puts it all in perspective:

First Brad and Jen. Then Charlie and Denise. Now, another beloved couple is calling it quits: Jeff Jarvis and Bill Keller.

Sad. It seems like just yesterday these two were strolling arm-in-arm in the park while talking about blogs and MSM, sharing Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3 and making jokes about Daniel Okrent, looking deep in each others

  • Sherard

    Jeff, I couldn’t help but think of the following as I read this last diatribe from Keller –
    Think of blogs as an interactive means for developing a free market for ideas. He thinks your response to Sarah Boxer was “way way over the top” and that the discussion of that went on far too long, and continues to go on for no reason when they, the Times, had already “debunked” it.
    Sorry, Bill, but the people get to decide that, not you. And therein lies the difference between Big Media and blogs. If a large number of people think that story sucked (and I did just like you), that it was horrible journalism, and simple-minded commentary, and arrogant in thinking they could just skim over blogs and be done with it, then the opinion of the paper that printed it, is but ONE VOICE. And if the one voice is so vastly out-numbered, then, well there’s something to taht. Maybe the voice of all the people, all the blogs, is right, and NOT (oh the horror) the NY Times. Shocker, I know.
    The blogs each decide what they want to post, commenters decide which posts generate interest, and links and trackbacks, and resulting posts determine the reach of a particular issue. The clash between Big Media and blogs is not going away, is not going to be solved until the MSM start to understand this aspect of the blog conversation. If they, the Times, want to respond, that’s fine, but they are not the definitive voice any longer, and the longer they staunchly defend the fact that they are, or even should be, the less and less definitive and relevant they become.
    His last bit on the “waste of time” is another area where we’re talking about a free market. Yes, certainly if you picked 20 blogs at random and forced 20 readers to go through the last week of posts in excruciating detail it would probably be a waste of time. But that’s not what people do. They read what they want. And the blogs people read invariably get more traffic, links, and new readers. And the ideas that drive those blogs spread and it’s crystal clear that in a free market like that structured anachronisms like the NY Times just can’t keep up. Certainly there is a place for the structured collection and dissemination of news in hardcopy like the Times, but that’s all it is at this point. In my opinion, if the Times still wants to be relevant going forward, Keller is the wrong guy to lead them there.

  • http://www.glcq.com paul_lukasiak

    If you had responded directly to one of the bloggers — challenged them, called them on taking you out of context — I’ll guarantee that bloggers themselves would have spread your response for you.
    the odds are, however, that if Keller’s words were taken out of context and distorted by a blogger, any response from Keller would be just as distorted.
    As for “bloggers themselves spreading your response for you”…..which planet do you live on? The blogosphere is far from self-correcting. The vast majority of right wingers STILL believe, for example, that the Texas Air National Guard could not produce a proportionately spaced document in 1972…. despite the fact that one such document that was withheld by the White House when it released Bush’s military records in February 2004 was finally released thanks to a lawsuit by the AP on September 24th.
    (hell, the vast majority of right-wingers still believe that Saddam had WMDs, and that (despite all the reports and evidence to the contrary) he spirited them out of Iraq to whichever nation (Syria or Iran) is target #1 this week.)
    You yourself have demonstrated how bloggers fail to “self correct”….while you prominently featured the completely unfounded accusation that Sarah Boxer endangered the ITM bloggers because until that time their full names had not been revealed, you buried your retraction in the middle of a very long series of updates to your original post, rather than giving that retraction the prominence it deserved. And rather than recognize that your own biases had so blinded you to the facts that you “forgot” that YOU YOURSELF had previously done what you accused Boxer of doing, and reconsidering your position on Boxer’s article, you simply switched gears and found another way to accuse Boxer of endangering the ITM bloggers.
    And, of course, here’s the kicker. You probably think I’m “distorting” what happened — yet you advise Keller to try to set the record straight as if he would not be subjected to the same distortion.

  • http://www.democracyguy.com tim

    Mr. Keller referring to blogging as both a prequel and sequel is one of the more interesting descriptions i’ve heard. He’s right. Blogging needs a lot of things to make it what everyone wants it to be. Some of them are…
    1. writing. there isn’t much of it in the blogosphere. there are a lot of words. a lot of phrases. lots of sampling. not much writing. that doesn’t mean it needs editing. just writing. if you step away from a blog for a while and come back to look at it a day later, most of the stuff out here wouldn’t get a C-minus from your 8th grade english teacher.
    2. restraint. the whole junior high school feel of the blogosphere reminds me of a kid passing a note to the kid next to him in class, the other kid getting pissed off and writing a more angry note back, and so on, and so on, and so on. as we get more responsible with our words as adults, we stop passing mean notes to each other. blogosphere needs to get there.
    3. civility. calling someone out for their mistakes, omissions, or whatever, need not be uncivil. it can be both aggressive and civil, both angry and civil, both immediate and civil. bloggers are on average, more intelligent than the average bear. it would be nice if they used this intelligence to separate themselves from bomb-throwers by being a bit more civil.
    Like Mr. Keller, I think blogs are one day going to be mainstream media. After all, the best blogs are the ones with good writing, good reporting, actual research, breaking news, exclusives…boy does that sound eerily familiar.

  • EverKarl

    As much as I’m tempted, I’ll skip over paul’s comments about those TxANG memos and the Boxer story to address one of Mr. Keller’s points.
    Mr. Keller seems upset that “there seems to be no end to any argument in your world.”
    So true. In my world, the NYT covers questions about government-funded health care, judicial nominations, the wisdom of tax cuts, baseline budgeting, social security reform, the exclusionary membership policy of a golf club in Georgia and the bases and effects of the Invasion of Iraq over and over and over. People are still writing books about Watergate and the NYT reviews them. People still analyze whether Mr. Duranty’s coverage of Ukraine for the NYT aided and abetted one of the 20th Century’s larger atrocities.
    At least on blogs, past arguments on a topic can be referenced by a link — an advantage not available to traditional media, which is forced to balance boring the informed reader against providing context to the new reader.
    Most of Mr. Keller’s problems with blogs are variations on a theme: people in traditional media do not like to be treated by bloggers the way everyone else is treated by traditional media. They do not like to be misquoted or taken out of context (as they see it). They do not like having their version of events (or their opinions about them) disputed, particularly when they believe they do not have an adequate opportunity to respond in every forum where an alleged mistake is printed.
    Mr. Keller, welcome to our world; it’s the one in which everyone else has been living for about a century.

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    paul,
    Unlike with a newspaper, you get to post your vitriolic rants disagreeing with Jeff as an immediate attachment to whatever he says, for all the world to see. That you don’t recognize any value in that process is ironic, to say the least.

  • http://www.democracyguy.com tim

    that was hilarious.

  • tb

    I like the Groundhog day analogy of blogging, very good and apropo.

  • http://www.glcq.com paul_lukasiak

    That you don’t recognize any value in that process is ironic, to say the least.
    although I really don’t ascribe much value to anything I write in the comments section here, that does not mean that the capacity to immediately respond to something has no value whatsoever.
    My point was that Jeff’s suggestion that Keller should try and correct the record by responding to bloggers who distort his words is, at best, naive. The fact is that most of the distortion that goes on in the blogosphere is deliberate — and there is really very little point to trying to get a right wing blogger to correct the record.
    Case in point: Daniel Okrent’s admission that the New York Times is a “liberal” paper. Okrent went to considerable lengths to explain what he meant by that, but the vast majority of wingnuts have never bothered to read Okrent’s original piece, and know ONLY that Okrent “admitted” that the Times is “liberal” — then treat that admission as proof that everything that appears in the paper is unreliable because it is informed by “liberal bias.”
    But the “liberal” nature of the Times is determined by the facts with which it, and all New Yorkers, are confronted on a daily basis. Sure, the Times supports gun control, but not for “ideological” reasons — it supports gun control because New Yorkers are constantly confronted with the damage caused by gun-related violence. And certainly, the Times supports increased federal spending on drug treatment programs — because the Times is constantly confronted with the consequences of untreated drug addiction, and knows that its a national problem that requires a federal response (after all, its not like there are opium farms on Staten Island or Upstate New York — drugs get into this country because of the failure of the federal government to control our borders.)
    In other words, the Times is “liberal” not because of ideology, but because reality demands that it be “liberal”. But wingnuts ignore that reality, and propagate the myth that the Times’ “biases” are ideological.
    And it wouldn’t matter how many times Okrent went to right-wing blog sites to correct the record, right-wing bloggers will never admit that the “liberal bias” is not ideological because their worldview is based on the assumption of an ideological bias of the “MSM”.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Well, sorry, but this is too good to resist…
    Paul says:
    “…I really don’t ascribe much value to anything I write in the comments section here…”
    Finally, you’ve said something that most people here can agree to…

  • http://www.democracyguy.com tim

    again, hilarious.

  • htom

    The complaint that the blogs never end a discussion really struck me. Journalism is one of Carse’s “finite games”; blogging is an “infinte game”, a game played for the sake of playing the game (finite games are played for winning.) http://www.wvu.edu/~lawfac/jelkins/imagine/carse.html

  • Ran

    Thank you Mr. Jarvis – wonderfully enlightening and hilarious! You handed Bill all the rope he needed.
    “I suspect that for blogging to achieve the status its practitioners aspire to, it will have to become a bit less retail, a little more edited, a little more a product of judgment. In other word, a bit more…like us, the MSM. In fact, it is already happening, isn’t it?
    Good to know the NY Times isn’t too “retail”! (Why, it’s soooo refreshing to see that the NY Times isn’t overly concerned with profits or circulation.)
    Jason Blair? The famed Dowdian ellipsis? Just what is Keller delivering apart from superior “judgment” and “editing”? Edit this, Mr. Keller… (smile for the birdie!)
    Until Bill and Pinch retire, the NYT gets not a dime nor a click from me (my singular newssource boycott). I truly resent having to suspend disbelief when I read the news. I’m in NYC next week: I’ll be sure to pick up a WSJ and a NY Sun.

  • http://www.glcq.com paul_lukasiak

    Finally, you’ve said something that most people here can agree to…
    well, jeff, actually I see myself throwing pearls before swine …. it doesn’t mean that pearls have no value, merely that I don’t expect the livestock to do a proper appraisal. :)

  • Jimbo

    Did Keller mean Swiss canton? Get that man an editor ;-)

  • http://www.democracyguy.com tim

    off topic….i’m calling on Howard Dean to resign at my blog, http://www.democracyguy.com.

  • http://mithras.blogs.com Mithras

    Keller is so polite:
    You can join the discussion from a position of raw, opinionated ignorance.
    He could have been so much more pointed and personal with the blogboy who has no substantive knowledge. What does he get in response? This:
    I went to J-school and drank from the cup. It was hard for me to deprogram when I became a columnist, let alone a blogger.
    So he’s a suicidal cultist? Nice. No wonder you didn’t make the sale, Jarvis.

  • Sherard

    Wow, Jeff has a troll. Don’t often check the comments here, but in the last few days I have, and lo and behold paul is there spewing barely on-topic rants for no apparent reason other than to see his own typing. Go away troll.

  • Little John

    Tut, tut! No feeding the trolls! Responses (attention) are what they’re trolling for; telling them to go away emboldens them, like deranged, misanthropic lobbyists. Trolls are one of the few problems that go away if (and only if) you ignore them.

  • http://donatacom.com/blog.shtml Terry Heaton

    When DO you sleep, Jeff?

  • jeremy in NYC

    Well….I enjoy Mithras’ trolling. At least he’s original, if still a bit predictable.

  • http://swissroll.info/ Francois Brutsch

    I’m afraid I singled out one unfortunate sentence from Bill Keller — “Direct democracy may work in a Swedish canton” (instead of Swiss) — as a way to draw the attention of my readers to your most interesting dialogue… Thanks!
    http://www.swissroll.info/index.php?2005/03/03/152-blogs-et-medias-traditionnels-et-linsondable-ignorance-des-americains

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    I can’t quite put my finger on why I think this, but I do: I think Keller is patronizing and condescending. He doesn’t need to be, actually. He’s the editor of the Times. But there he is, talking about his “readers” who blog using terms like “one man circle jerk.” He works hard to sound as though he feels nothing, he’s so objective he’s inhuman.
    Jeff, you’re hardly perfect, but I prefer your fault and passion to his cold, distant analysis.

  • Eileen

    “I’m afraid I singled out one unfortunate sentence from Bill Keller — ”
    Yes, Francois, unfortunately you did, using it to point out the (“l’insondable ignorance des Americains”) ‘unfathomable stupidity of Americans’ in your title, and characterizing it as (“ce cliche des rednecks”) a ‘redneck cliche’. I’m sure it helped to make your day and allowed you to draw attention to your Swiss blog. Thanks! on behalf of ignorant Americans everywhere.

  • EverKarl

    Personally, I think paul looks durn purty in those pearls — entirely befitting his position as King of Siam.

  • mel

    From my perspective, Keller handed Jarvis a generous lesson in thoughtful honesty, nuanced and eloquent — a little lesson in how journalists of good faith should approach the facts. But Jarvis is incapable of hearing anything over the sound of his own horn tooting.

  • hey

    i know at some times i can be a troll here.. but not typically trying to be (jeff is reasonable and rational on so many issues… can drive me batty when he almost, but not quite, agrees with me)
    as the (nazi fascist zionist/ whatever ad-hominems you wish to apply) active community at LGF does, use GAZE with trolls. you “look” at them, but don’t get down and dirty with them… but everyone wants to fight the troll. problem is, they generally don’t even realise when they’ve been killed… they just keep coming.
    as for the ongoing keller-jarvis fight… jeff’s right. keller’s insistence on relying on previous arguments between 3rd parties seems overly lawyerly and bureaucratic. it’s not how (effective) customer service deals with things. it should not be how the press deals with things.
    Jeff believes the times endangered the life of a story’s subject. reporter and ombud say no we didn’t. talk to editor, editor gets angry when you try to get him to use his own reasoning. if you’re the boss, but you won’t question what your people did or use your own judgement, you’re not a good boss.

  • http://surfaceimage.net surface

    dude! bill keller smacked you down!

  • http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2004/10/new_york_times__1.html Richard Silverstein

    Very funny last segment from Gawker!
    I was struck by how fundamentally Keller doesn’t “get” blogging. I guess it’s to be expected from someone in his position, but is it really? I’m a blogger AND a newspaper (NYT) reader. Is it too much to ask of Keller that he respect blogs as much as I respect (much of the time) his newspaper.
    For the Times truly & in its essence doesn’t respect blogs. I’ve written the publisher & president of NYTimes.com numerous times with suggestions & critcisms of the site’s clumsiness & lack of internet interactivity. Never once got an answer to anything. I’ve pointed them to numerous posts I’ve written with a comprehensive critique of their internet “strategy” (click on my name to read one of my posts on the subject). No interest on their part. Now, I’m not claiming that I’m a brilliant thinker who’s come up with new & innovative ideas on this subject. But I think at least one of my e mails deserved some kind of response. I just don’t think they care or feel they need to care.
    In addition, I think (as Jeff correctly points out) that bloggers could help him & his staff do their own job better. I know that’s the function that the Times plays for me in my blog. 50% of my ideas for posts seem to originate in NYT stories. Why shouldn’t the same percentage be true for NYT stories originating in blog posts (well, maybe that’s overstating it a bit).
    Guess we’ll have to keep beating on their doors until they decide we’re worthy of opening it up just a crack. Eventually, they’ll come around because blogs won’t just go away–just the opposite will happen.

  • http://swissroll.info/ Francois Brutsch

    Re: Eileen’s comment (March 3):
    I hope you noticed the title was meant ironically! My blog is one of the very few pro-American blogs in French language…

  • Eileen

    Thank you, Francois, on both counts!

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  • Mark