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….

Editors’ first response to the blogging phenom should not be to write blogs but to read them. We in media have owned the printing press for centuries. Now, thanks to blogging, the people own the press and its power; they are speaking and it is our turn to listen. I am beginning to see more evidence that mainstream media is listening: You will see blogs quoted by Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post or Jeff Greenfield at CNN (who told me he starts every day reading blogs); you see blogs, in the words of, fact-checking our ass, which is good for our credibility. It has been slow but it is picking up speed.

The uptake of blogs within mainstream media is slow because of various old-media concerns: editing, copy-editing, process, fear. That’s too bad, but it will change as nonbloggers see how much fun the bloggers are having with this new relationship with the public. The great advantage of blogging is that it brings journalism down to a human level; it puts us eye-to-eye with our public and lets us join in the conversation in our community.

I do believe that blogging, or some variation on the theme, will become part and parcel of any media enterprise: political correspondents are picking up blogs the way the used to pick up scotch; Zach Braff’s movie Garden State has a blog; when the big Jim McGreevey story broke in New Jersey, we reported everything we knew as soon as we knew it on an blog.

In the end, blogging is just a tool — history’s easiest publishing tool connected to the world via history’s best communications network. How can we not all use it?