Blog doubts from the other side of the fence

Still sniffing around for interesting material for this Jupiter business blogs conference thing, and this turns up - Mark Glaser writing for the Online Journalism Review:

Journalists Debate Closure of Another Blog


A journalist working for a major media company decides to start a personal Weblog in his spare time. His blog becomes popular (or not). His association with the media company is stated, but discreetly. He has the usual disclaimer: This Weblog is the opinion of Joe Journo, and not the company he works for. But what does the company think? If it's CNN, Time magazine or the Hartford Courant, it doesn't think -- it acts, killing the Weblog for reasons stated (and unstated)...

"A CNN.com spokesperson told OJR previously, "CNN.com prefers to take a more structured approach to presenting the news. We do not blog."

The piece closes with some advice for would-be journalist bloggers (aside: as a blog is a form of online journal, surely all bloggers are, by definition, 'journalists' - even if not many journalists are bloggers...?). Glaser suggests:

Some recipes for success in journo Weblogging: 1) You're not a "name" reporter, or you write your Weblog under a pseudonym that isn't discovered; 2) You write your Weblog for the official media site, with full oversight from the publication; 3) You make your name as a blogger first, then get hired by the media company with the power to write what you want.

I'm sure there's a fourth option in there too.

How about: you write your weblog far enough away from the official media site (but link back to them, just as you would to any other site - when it's appropriate to the context of what you're writing), and the publication is smart enough to remain hands off; knowing they don't own your brain and/or anything you happen to write outside of their four walls...


The pointer to this piece, btw, came from David Akin - probably Canada's only mainstream journalist blogger, who mentions that he's going to be addressing precisely this topic on a panel at the upcoming Canadian Association of Journalists conference next weekend.