Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blogging Comes of Age

In surfing around the Internet last night and trying to get ideas about a topic for today's post, I came across this in the Wall Street Journal.

We are approaching a decade since the first blogger -- regarded by many to be Jorn Barger -- began his business of hunting and gathering links to items that tickled his fancy, to which he appended some of his own commentary. On Dec. 23, 1997, on his site, Robot Wisdom, Mr. Barger wrote: "I decided to start my own webpage logging the best stuff I find as I surf, on a daily basis," and the Oxford English Dictionary regards this as the primordial root of the word "weblog."

So blogging will be 10 years old at the end of this year. Pardon me while I leave the keyboard for a moment so I can start chilling a bottle of Cristal to pop open come December 23rd.

I haven't been at it 10 years (I started this blog in September of 2005) but nevertheless, blogging has been good to me.

What makes a good blog? According to Elizabeth Spiers, a founding editor of the news and gossip site, Gawker, who was quoted in the WSJ article;

[T]he (blogs) that had the biggest and most loyal readerships -- always had a few consistent qualities. They were topically focused, often in niche areas. They published regularly and frequently, typically during office hours and several times a day. They published content that was original or difficult to find, from breaking news to proprietary photographs to obscure links that readers are unlikely to find on their own. They were usually well-written, which has its own intrinsic appeal for anyone who prefers to enjoy what they're reading. And lastly, they engaged their readership by soliciting feedback and responding to it, in the form of asking for tips, allowing comments or otherwise demonstrating some level of interest in their audience's preferences.

Back on April 10, 2005, News-Press editorial page editor Travis Armstrong wrote in his op ed page column; "I think it would be great if blogs became a challenge to journalists in Santa Barbara."

Mmm. I wonder if he still feels that way?

* * *

Attorney Ira Gottlieb, who represents the newsroom employees at the News-Press who have voted to unionize, wrote to point out that on Monday the paper ran an editorial ridiculing the Santa Barbara City Council for being contemptuous of the will of the two-thirds of the city's voters who voted in favor of Measure P (which makes enforcement of marijuana the lowest police priority). According to the editorial, the city council has in effect appealed the outcome of the election by suing in court to have Measure P thrown out.

As Ira pointed out, 85 percent of the paper's newsroom employees voted in favor of the union yet the paper's owner, Wendy McCaw, is delaying certification of the union by appealing the outcome of that election.

Maybe the secret to getting McCaw to drop the appeal is to point out to her that according to her own editorial page editor she's behaving like Mayor Blum.

* * *

Today in my print column in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound I write about the return of the dreaded news consultants to a local TV station and the local public access program "Santa Barbara Uncensored."

* * *

Today's last word goes to Bernie McGrath who has been panning for gold in the San Gabriel River since 1989.

"I have yet to see anybody get rich out here."

Kind of sounds like blogging.

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