Okrent’s narrative

Okrent’s narrative
: Dan Okrent writes his first real (post-introductory) column for The Times — and sets his style as a public editor: He’s not setting rules; he’s not judging from on high; he’s not theorizing about journalism; he’s not scolding or defending.

He’s telling a story. He takes on the issue of a reporter with a slight but still possible conflict of interest writing a story nonetheless (read the column for the details). He reports. He opines. He narrates.

It’s journalism on journalism.

: Oh, yes, and I forgot one other important angle: He’s educating.

One more thing…
: By the way, on the Times post below — regarding coverage of the anti-terrorism demonstrations in Iraq — I’ve distilled it in my mind down to one issue:

It’s about sources.

Weblogs and citizens’ media are a new source of news for news organizations.

To ignore them is to be ignorant.

That simple.

Like any other source, you need to attribute and issue caveats and check on them. But they are a source.

If The Times bureau had used Iraqi weblogs as a source, they would have (1) known when the demonstrations were to occur, (2) known from the authentic voices of Iraqis that these mattered and this this was news, and (3) would have gained material — including photos — if they had fallen short at covering the event itself.

Weblogs and citizens’ media are a valuble source of news, information, viewpoint, and diversitiy for the news business. That’s the real issue.

: UPDATE: Henry Copeland says Dan would be better off blogging than sending out scores of email replies.

: And Glenn Reynolds says both he and I are easier on Okrent and The Times that our commenters and emailers.

I actually think that Dan has gotten pretty good reviews in the blogosphere. (Sorry, Jay Rosen, I’m not going to give you links.) That will, of course, change, as soon as he or The Times pisses off assorted bloggers. But let’s still give him points for responding to the issues you’ve raised directly with him.

I’d sure hate to have his mailbag.