: Mark Glaser asks ombudsmen — a self-referential lot if I’ve ever read one — about the web and weblogs. Their answers range from respectful (NPR) to clueless (Sacto Bee) to hostile (TorStar):
Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR: Blogs are here to stay. They are a new and somewhat untested form of journalism. They are also a positive expression of the rambunctiousness of American culture and democracy…a bit unwieldy…hard to contain…often an utterly genuine expression of political and cultural vigor and excitement. Old-line media need to figure out a way to report on them as often as they report on us.
Mike Needs, Akron Beacon-Journal: I have tried blogging and enjoyed the opportunity to lower the threshold for distribution of information about the media process. However, it really is a commitment of time — more so than I expected. Why? Because it constitutes publication and requires the same degree of accuracy and polish that we would give to regular print or online material. I loved the freedom to share my personal reactions to a multitude of topics. I hated being taken to task for posting something that was not completely developed.
Tony Marcano, Sacramento Bee: Blogs are like television news — they’re great for immediacy, and they may encourage some people to turn to other media for more in-depth information or different points of view. I think the reputation of blogs overall is hurt by the overabundance of self-referential, narcissistic sites that exist for little reason other than to draw attention to the blogger. Eventually, the free market will wean out most of those sites, but for now, many blogs still come off as an egocentric exercise.
Dan Okrent, NY Times: I’m not blogging, I’m doing something that’s kind of a crypto-blog. In the world of opinion, blogs are very effective and powerful. But so many of the things that I have to deal with (and I presume other people in similar positions at other papers have to deal with) require reporting, not just an opinion or a thought. If someone raises something on a blog, it might take me a week to respond to it, because of the reporting that has to be done. That kind of defeats the purpose of a blog, of the rapid conversation that comprises so much blogging.
Don Sellar, Toronto Star: I don’t take bloggers very seriously. Their tradecraft is sometimes weak, or lacking. But they’re part of the landscape, just as pamphleteers were in days of yore. I chuckle at the inchoate rage of The OmbudsGod at all things liberal, even when he takes a whack at something I wrote.