Blog farewells

Blog farewells

: Two newspaper people just wrote farewells to their blogs.

Doug Clifton, editor in chief of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (a work colleague), has decided to give up his blog because it was too demanding to try to keep up with it. He wasn’t blogging to blog so much as he was using the form to try to find another way to converse with readers.

It wasn’t free-form, it wasn’t filled with links to other sites, it wasn’t particularly chatty, it wasn’t purposely provocative, and it certainly wasn’t frequent….

Still, it served a purpose. I did get some insight into reader perspectives. And it forced me to spend more concentrated time thinking about what we do and why — and explaining it.

I hit the wall in June when I took a week of vacation. Freed of the blog’s obligation, I felt liberated. On my return, the press of daily business made it easy to postpone the blog’s reawakening.

I’ve never been one to insist that everyone should blog or even that everyone in Big Media should blog (as I say everytime I can so pardon the repetition: We in Big Media have owned the printing press for centuries and now that the people own the press, they are speaking and our first response to blogging should be to listen). I’m always sad to see a blog die (doesn’t a star go out in the heavens when that happens… or am I thinking of something else?). But I also fully understand the crush of being expected to fill this blank screen.

: At the same time, Doug Harper, an editor at a paper in Pennsylvania, quit his blog because his employers issued a rather draconian decree on blogging: It’s OK to blog if you must, but make sure you don’t get any on us, the bosses said. The most ludicrous part of the order:

Editorial staffers who operate their own Web sites, blogs or chat rooms are not permitted to trade on their newspaper positions. They may not lingk their personal sites, blogs or chat rooms to the —– Newspapers’ Web site nor to —— Newspapers’ articles. Personal Web sites, blogs or chat rooms may not use column names or any other identifying information or wording that connects the writer to —– Newspapers.

I also understand the need to set the rules. But the tone of this — yuck, we don’t want any blog cooties — is pathetic.