The blog editing system in action

At last week’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference I was on a blogger panel where some members of the audience brought up ye olde “bloggers aren’t as good as ‘real journalists’ because bloggers don’t get it right” argument. The audience cheered when the host made the point that magazine journalists go slower to “get it right.” I played the part of the blogger and took the point on the chin, despite also now writing for a magazine and having to work with the old-school editing system of fact-checkers and pre-publication editing.

I tried to make the point that blogs self correct very quickly (usually within hours) because if I get it wrong the people who actually know the truth will jump on me fast and furiously and that blogs arrive at the truth faster BECAUSE of the participation of everyone involved.

This is something that RARELY happens in the paper press. Or, if it does, thanks to letters to the editors, it happens very slowly, so readers never really see that feedback until weeks or months later. And even when it does happen you only see a sample of the feedback, never the whole feedback. In every case gatekeepers are in charge of what the reader sees (try to get something published in a newspaper sometime, even if you have a legitimate case it’s pretty difficult).

Dave Winer told me often that he loves blogging because it lets him tell his story. His complete, unedited, unchanged, unfiltered story. He’d tell me example after example of getting interviewed by journalists who didn’t understand the technology he was building, so they’d misrepresent it due to either misunderstanding what he was saying, or, even worse, some sort of bias toward him or his technology. Many other people have told me the same thing.

Anyway, at the Fortune thing I tried to get across that I liked having my readers as fact checkers a lot more than the magazine style of working to get it right before publishing. Every column I publish in Fast Company magazine gets edited and fact checked by someone else. That’s cool and usually keeps me from looking like an idiot in print. But I much prefer the blog because I think the comments are actually part of the article.

No better way to demonstrate that as with yesterday’s post about Silicon Valley’s VC Disease.

David Hornik, the VC I was talking about, gave a very long reply to my post yesterday. He refuted some things, clarified other things, and had fun with other things. Among the points that Hornik made is that August Capital was one of the few original investors in Seagate. I should have looked that up before publishing. A fact-checker at the magazine probably would have caught it and kept me from looking stupid. But, this let David get a great point across: that he was positioned unfairly by me and let him clarify his remarks on Friday. In the old world a journalist would have been able to throw David under the bus and David wouldn’t have been able to do much about it except write a letter to the editor.

In the old world of publishing you never would have seen his reply and if, for some reason, it would have run, it would have been a month later separate from the article, not combined with the article within a few hours of its publishing, like Hornik’s comment was here.

Journalists who fight this system (and readers who don’t check out the comments) are missing the point. This is a participatory media, not a one-way one, and, while it has a different editing system (the editing is done post publishing, not pre publishing) it’s pretty clear to me that this system arrives at the truth a lot faster than anything on paper does.

But, you gotta read and participate in those comments! Lots of old-schoolers don’t like that dirty work.

Oh, and David also joined in over on the FriendFeed thread.

Thank you David for providing evidence that blogs can make everyone, including the author, smarter.

112 thoughts on “The blog editing system in action

  1. Scoble, I gave a talk at Mark Anderson’s Future in Review conference a couple of years ago. It’s a conference of CEOs and CTOs mostly in the tech world. The question was much the same as the one the people at the Fortune conference were raising, but I wasn’t outnumbered, and the audience wasn’t full of journos. So I asked for a show of hands of anyone whose point of view had ever been accurately reflected in an article they were quoted in. I got a lot of applause (probably like the applause the Fortune guy got) and not one hand went up and no one spoke in defense of reporters. In other words, here are people who are often quoted by the press, and none of them felt they had EVER been represented accurately.

    I said — That’s why I blog, and rested my case.

    I think those reporters are smug and have their heads buried in the sand, if they don’t see blogging as a rebellion of the people they used to quote, they’re completely missing the point. (And they mostly are.)

    And thank you for representing us Scoble. Most professional journalists have a contradictory point of view. They think they have taken over blogging, and at the same time look down condescendingly at bloggers. Funny, since everyone on stage at your event were professional reporters who use blogging tools. As if somehow what software you use changes who you are in some fundamental way.

    Dave

  2. Scoble, I gave a talk at Mark Anderson’s Future in Review conference a couple of years ago. It’s a conference of CEOs and CTOs mostly in the tech world. The question was much the same as the one the people at the Fortune conference were raising, but I wasn’t outnumbered, and the audience wasn’t full of journos. So I asked for a show of hands of anyone whose point of view had ever been accurately reflected in an article they were quoted in. I got a lot of applause (probably like the applause the Fortune guy got) and not one hand went up and no one spoke in defense of reporters. In other words, here are people who are often quoted by the press, and none of them felt they had EVER been represented accurately.

    I said — That’s why I blog, and rested my case.

    I think those reporters are smug and have their heads buried in the sand, if they don’t see blogging as a rebellion of the people they used to quote, they’re completely missing the point. (And they mostly are.)

    And thank you for representing us Scoble. Most professional journalists have a contradictory point of view. They think they have taken over blogging, and at the same time look down condescendingly at bloggers. Funny, since everyone on stage at your event were professional reporters who use blogging tools. As if somehow what software you use changes who you are in some fundamental way.

    Dave

  3. Scoble, I don’t believe I once mentioned you by name when I said “bloggers”, so your taking this personally comes off as being defensive. But, like they say, “if the shoe fits…”. You yourself mentioned MSM have editors and fact checkers to ensure what is written has at least been vetted. Many bloggers don’t take the the time to do that. Primarily for fear of not being first, then linked to. How often does a correction make it it’s way through the link love network? I’d about as often as corrections in the MSM get noticed. Moreover, when the MSM print corrections, it’s typicall in the form of correcting names or dates. Anything that rises above that is very well publicized. Does John Edwards have a mistress and a love child? Speculation abounds. No one has yet to state is as fact, but at somepoint someone is going to have a press conference to clear it all up. If this we purely “reported” by bloggers there would have been less specilation and attempts to contact Edwards. They simply would have said he was seen visiting his mistriss and love child. Even coments would have been unreliable, even if they came from Edwards himself. As for one newspaper quoting another, it happens all the time. It is very common for the Times or the Post to say “…the WSJ is reporting….”. Then you can bet your ass the NYT editor is

  4. I think the self-correcting thing can work – but it needs a reasonable blog following, plus followers who will comment. If, for example, I post something about say PowerShell, there are a few people who will correct me (and do!), and many more who won’t. BUT – my posts end up in Google (et al). When folks use use Google to search they presumably act on what they find which might not be great!

    For A-list bloggers like you, getting folks to post updates/corrections/clarifications is both part of the deal, but also almost to be expected. And when I Google for something, and see the comments, I can take the whole stream into consideration. However, For many, many others, their blogs are obscure, but Google can give them importance that maybe they don’t deserve.

    My .02€ worth!

  5. Scoble, I don’t believe I once mentioned you by name when I said “bloggers”, so your taking this personally comes off as being defensive. But, like they say, “if the shoe fits…”. You yourself mentioned MSM have editors and fact checkers to ensure what is written has at least been vetted. Many bloggers don’t take the the time to do that. Primarily for fear of not being first, then linked to. How often does a correction make it it’s way through the link love network? I’d about as often as corrections in the MSM get noticed. Moreover, when the MSM print corrections, it’s typicall in the form of correcting names or dates. Anything that rises above that is very well publicized. Does John Edwards have a mistress and a love child? Speculation abounds. No one has yet to state is as fact, but at somepoint someone is going to have a press conference to clear it all up. If this we purely “reported” by bloggers there would have been less specilation and attempts to contact Edwards. They simply would have said he was seen visiting his mistriss and love child. Even coments would have been unreliable, even if they came from Edwards himself. As for one newspaper quoting another, it happens all the time. It is very common for the Times or the Post to say “…the WSJ is reporting….”. Then you can bet your ass the NYT editor is

  6. I think the self-correcting thing can work – but it needs a reasonable blog following, plus followers who will comment. If, for example, I post something about say PowerShell, there are a few people who will correct me (and do!), and many more who won’t. BUT – my posts end up in Google (et al). When folks use use Google to search they presumably act on what they find which might not be great!

    For A-list bloggers like you, getting folks to post updates/corrections/clarifications is both part of the deal, but also almost to be expected. And when I Google for something, and see the comments, I can take the whole stream into consideration. However, For many, many others, their blogs are obscure, but Google can give them importance that maybe they don’t deserve.

    My .02€ worth!

  7. robert, you come down hard on victor. ok, so maybe you’d like to offer perspective on techcrunch’s continual recycling of the google-to-by-digg rumor, which predictably grabs all the attention on techmeme for a cycle or two…before getting debunked a few days later.

  8. robert, you come down hard on victor. ok, so maybe you’d like to offer perspective on techcrunch’s continual recycling of the google-to-by-digg rumor, which predictably grabs all the attention on techmeme for a cycle or two…before getting debunked a few days later.

  9. That’s what I like about blogs. When mistakes are found they can be corrected and there is interaction. That can’t be done on hard copies.

  10. That’s what I like about blogs. When mistakes are found they can be corrected and there is interaction. That can’t be done on hard copies.

  11. {Quote Scoble in comments}:
    “…it’s just that with the pros you don’t often see the corrections.”

    And there is the truth.

    Bloggers, often small and independent, must stick their necks out
    to be fresh with news and commentary, yet likely without
    resources such as industry leads, a staff and an in house legal team.

  12. {Quote Scoble in comments}:
    “…it’s just that with the pros you don’t often see the corrections.”

    And there is the truth.

    Bloggers, often small and independent, must stick their necks out
    to be fresh with news and commentary, yet likely without
    resources such as industry leads, a staff and an in house legal team.

  13. David, sorry to disagree but to a business executive, a practitioner will always have more credibility than a journalist. They pay us consulting, software other fees many many times higher than their annual subscription to a magazine or a newspaper…

    But the reality is no single source any more – journalists, bloggers, analysts – individually influences a whole bunch. There is an expression which goes

    In the 70s when the CIO wanted input on tech they turned to IBM
    In the 80s they turned to Accenture (Andersen)
    In the 90s they turned to Gartner
    Now they talk to each other

    So, rather than media sniping at bloggers and bloggers at analysts the more we all listen to what our customers and readers want to read about the better…

  14. David, sorry to disagree but to a business executive, a practitioner will always have more credibility than a journalist. They pay us consulting, software other fees many many times higher than their annual subscription to a magazine or a newspaper…

    But the reality is no single source any more – journalists, bloggers, analysts – individually influences a whole bunch. There is an expression which goes

    In the 70s when the CIO wanted input on tech they turned to IBM
    In the 80s they turned to Accenture (Andersen)
    In the 90s they turned to Gartner
    Now they talk to each other

    So, rather than media sniping at bloggers and bloggers at analysts the more we all listen to what our customers and readers want to read about the better…

  15. Blogs is more like ‘wisdom of the crowds’ while the traditional media is more like ‘wisdom of the elite’

    They both have their place in society’s need to be always informed and to constantly debate the right vrs wrong

    An analogy can be made between blogs and Wikipedia versus the top print media and The Encyclopedia Britanica.

  16. Blogs is more like ‘wisdom of the crowds’ while the traditional media is more like ‘wisdom of the elite’

    They both have their place in society’s need to be always informed and to constantly debate the right vrs wrong

    An analogy can be made between blogs and Wikipedia versus the top print media and The Encyclopedia Britanica.

  17. Bloggers will never have the credibility that real journalists have. Anyone can start a blog, but a real journalist must earn his/her career.

  18. Bloggers will never have the credibility that real journalists have. Anyone can start a blog, but a real journalist must earn his/her career.

  19. Steve Garfield: Although the idea is to leave blog entries intact, there are people who do make clear corrections and updates. This is often done carefully so that the change is evident (although I touch up typos without making a fuss about it). Also, because the update may not be seen in an RSS feed, if there is a significant update, a new article that points out the changed information and later news can be posted. We have the advantage of hyperlinking to knit this together, as well.

    Now, there are webzines, including those for print news, that also tie articles to comments and will also indicate if there is an update or has been an update. A prominent recent example was the Austin newspaper that moved a column from the front page and provided an editorial introduction to the reclassified commentary publication. So I think that the print media can be savvy about this in their electronic editions too, and some may see it as material to their integrity as a source.

  20. Steve Garfield: Although the idea is to leave blog entries intact, there are people who do make clear corrections and updates. This is often done carefully so that the change is evident (although I touch up typos without making a fuss about it). Also, because the update may not be seen in an RSS feed, if there is a significant update, a new article that points out the changed information and later news can be posted. We have the advantage of hyperlinking to knit this together, as well.

    Now, there are webzines, including those for print news, that also tie articles to comments and will also indicate if there is an update or has been an update. A prominent recent example was the Austin newspaper that moved a column from the front page and provided an editorial introduction to the reclassified commentary publication. So I think that the print media can be savvy about this in their electronic editions too, and some may see it as material to their integrity as a source.

  21. Robert, agree…also many bloggers are practitioners…they bring a perspective from their day job that few journalists can bring. Most bloggers tend to summarize and link to input from multiple sources )which in a way is a fact-check) – how often do you see a NY Times article cite a WSJ source or vice versa?

    Finally, in the enterprise space I blog about, there are fewer influential reporters. As I blogged last night, it sure would be nice for the NY Times (and other MSM) to consistently spread its coverage beyond Apple or Google which accounts for less than 5% of the tech and telecom industry…you would think sitting next to so many Fortune 500 CIOs in Manhattan they would write way more about enterprise vendors. Those guys are interested in reading about Jobs’ health, but their jobs depend on how SAP, SunGard Infosys and other “obscure” vendors fare

  22. Robert, agree…also many bloggers are practitioners…they bring a perspective from their day job that few journalists can bring. Most bloggers tend to summarize and link to input from multiple sources )which in a way is a fact-check) – how often do you see a NY Times article cite a WSJ source or vice versa?

    Finally, in the enterprise space I blog about, there are fewer influential reporters. As I blogged last night, it sure would be nice for the NY Times (and other MSM) to consistently spread its coverage beyond Apple or Google which accounts for less than 5% of the tech and telecom industry…you would think sitting next to so many Fortune 500 CIOs in Manhattan they would write way more about enterprise vendors. Those guys are interested in reading about Jobs’ health, but their jobs depend on how SAP, SunGard Infosys and other “obscure” vendors fare

  23. I am reading your blogs after months and I have to say I love your new detailed articles unlike short posts before. It appears Twitter and Friendfeed have cured you of short-postitis :)

    Journalists don’t like instant feedbacks. Lot of journalists spend their lifetime spreading rumor about celebrities and imagine what happens when the celebrities bite back? There was a long article in a popular bengali newspaper recently where journalists are lamenting the fact that they cannot anymore hide behind safewords like “allegedly” and “reportedly” and like whatever they wish about whichever celebrities, especially if they don’t happen to like them or need a spike in their readership. With celebrities in India moving to blogging, they fear that the days of celebrity gossip is coming to an end!

  24. I am reading your blogs after months and I have to say I love your new detailed articles unlike short posts before. It appears Twitter and Friendfeed have cured you of short-postitis :)

    Journalists don’t like instant feedbacks. Lot of journalists spend their lifetime spreading rumor about celebrities and imagine what happens when the celebrities bite back? There was a long article in a popular bengali newspaper recently where journalists are lamenting the fact that they cannot anymore hide behind safewords like “allegedly” and “reportedly” and like whatever they wish about whichever celebrities, especially if they don’t happen to like them or need a spike in their readership. With celebrities in India moving to blogging, they fear that the days of celebrity gossip is coming to an end!

  25. When an error is made in a newspaper article and it’s web counterpart, the hard copy article can never be corrected AND the electronic version NEVER is.

    That’s bad.

    People searching the archives and/or Google will always find the original uncorrected article.

    That procedure should change.

  26. When an error is made in a newspaper article and it’s web counterpart, the hard copy article can never be corrected AND the electronic version NEVER is.

    That’s bad.

    People searching the archives and/or Google will always find the original uncorrected article.

    That procedure should change.

  27. No doubt, the best post I’ve ever read in the blogosphere for a long time, it’s a perfect demonstration that the journalisme’s world is in complete mutation…

  28. No doubt, the best post I’ve ever read in the blogosphere for a long time, it’s a perfect demonstration that the journalisme’s world is in complete mutation…

  29. Honestly Robert – sometimes I can’t follow you.

    (1) Sure, bloggers who get it wrong get corrected faster. But don’t forget this – bloggers who post unverified facts are also wrong *more often* than those who take the time to “get it right”. You seem to have missed this point.

    (2) Did you really attribute “complete, unedited, unchanged, unfiltered” to Dave Winer? I respect the guy but please – he removes words and posts from his blog and moderates his comments. His blog is a “must read” – but it also is the antithesis of unedited, unchanged, and unfiltered. It also is the antithesis of being objective – and I’m sure Dave would agree with that last point too.

    (3) So you say having your readers fact check your words is a good thing? Okay. If I were in your shoes I’d think that it would be hard to defend anyone accusing me of simply being too lazy to fact check for myself. :-) But seriously – you can’t have it both ways Robert. You simply cannot call yourself a “journalist” yet not do the work inolved to fact check yourself.

  30. Honestly Robert – sometimes I can’t follow you.

    (1) Sure, bloggers who get it wrong get corrected faster. But don’t forget this – bloggers who post unverified facts are also wrong *more often* than those who take the time to “get it right”. You seem to have missed this point.

    (2) Did you really attribute “complete, unedited, unchanged, unfiltered” to Dave Winer? I respect the guy but please – he removes words and posts from his blog and moderates his comments. His blog is a “must read” – but it also is the antithesis of unedited, unchanged, and unfiltered. It also is the antithesis of being objective – and I’m sure Dave would agree with that last point too.

    (3) So you say having your readers fact check your words is a good thing? Okay. If I were in your shoes I’d think that it would be hard to defend anyone accusing me of simply being too lazy to fact check for myself. :-) But seriously – you can’t have it both ways Robert. You simply cannot call yourself a “journalist” yet not do the work inolved to fact check yourself.

  31. First up, I’m surprised that people are still bringing up the whole journalism versus blogging thing, and especially that they are still raising the whole “journalists check facts” idea. Not all journalists check facts – but all of them check if what they’re writing can get them sued. If there’s any difference these days, that’s it.

    But secondly, there’s two problems with the whole notion of self-correction – and these apply both to journalists and bloggers. First, the correction is rarely propagated across the web in the same way as a controversial original. A post on a popular site will get hundreds of resposts, comments and other posts around the web, within hours. By the time you correct that, a day later, attention has moved on and the majority of related posts will never be corrected.

    Second, you note how you learned something from David Hornik’s comments. But suppose David had commented on FriendFeed. Or Jaiku. Or some other community site.

    With comment fragmentation increasing, unless someone spends all their time looking for comments about your posts, they may well miss the comment which demonstrates they’re wrong – and the post may never be corrected.

  32. First up, I’m surprised that people are still bringing up the whole journalism versus blogging thing, and especially that they are still raising the whole “journalists check facts” idea. Not all journalists check facts – but all of them check if what they’re writing can get them sued. If there’s any difference these days, that’s it.

    But secondly, there’s two problems with the whole notion of self-correction – and these apply both to journalists and bloggers. First, the correction is rarely propagated across the web in the same way as a controversial original. A post on a popular site will get hundreds of resposts, comments and other posts around the web, within hours. By the time you correct that, a day later, attention has moved on and the majority of related posts will never be corrected.

    Second, you note how you learned something from David Hornik’s comments. But suppose David had commented on FriendFeed. Or Jaiku. Or some other community site.

    With comment fragmentation increasing, unless someone spends all their time looking for comments about your posts, they may well miss the comment which demonstrates they’re wrong – and the post may never be corrected.

  33. I agree to a point. The interaction is the name of the game, the speed is also, to some extant, an advantage.
    It is very true that printed papers have tons of mistakes in them, every professional sees it in his field when reading pure wrong facts.
    I think that the question is harder once you look at online “old school” press compared to blogs. There are quite a few news websites that have their own journalists and act according to “ethical” codes of journalism and still have the speed and the comments. It is also true that these kind of websites don’t have the same kind of interaction (blogger/users – it’s more the system/users), we look at the comments with a certain degree of distrust, knowing that the conversation is very wide, has PR people commenting and a lot of noise (Israeli news site ynet.co.il gets hundreds of comments per article, sometimes thousands).
    On the other side you get blogs that look like “real press” and are blogs. That their content is sometimes even syndicated to online news (see techcrunch) and that readers that are less sophisticated don’t check the comments after a day, or a few hours and receive the news as is, as if it was check proofed etc.

    The point of ambiguity is where I find the interesting questions that don’t have such a clear answer.

  34. Victor: far from it. In both forms, the authors can write whatever “they” (whether that’s an individual posting from home or a collaborative effort in the NY Times HQ) want to – the difference is that bloggers can be publicly corrected almost instantly. Look at “Memogate”, where Dan Rather went public with a completely bogus story using “evidence” which any geek knew instantly was an obvious fake. Being a TV broadcast, the corrections had to come later by other means; had it been a blog post by Rather, it would have been torn to shreds *in situ*, avoiding misinforming all but the first few readers to hit the story.

    It’s exactly why Microsoft has added blog-style comments to much of the public documentation: however careful they are, errors and unclear statements will creep in, but this way it’s easy for people to point out issues for everyone else to see.

    Earlier today, I saw a classic example: the CEO of Comcast denying that they interfere with their users’ traffic, including a bizarre reference to “Web protocols”. Was this a mistake by the journalist, like the reference earlier to BitTorrent as a “site” rather than a protocol – or was the CEO being deliberately disingenuous, citing non-interference with *Web* protocols (HTTP/HTTPS) as a smokescreen to his known interference with the protocols actually being discussed? In a tech blog, that wouldn’t have gone unchallenged for more than a few minutes, but in the legacy press it’s left to stand, ambiguity and all.

  35. Victor: far from it. In both forms, the authors can write whatever “they” (whether that’s an individual posting from home or a collaborative effort in the NY Times HQ) want to – the difference is that bloggers can be publicly corrected almost instantly. Look at “Memogate”, where Dan Rather went public with a completely bogus story using “evidence” which any geek knew instantly was an obvious fake. Being a TV broadcast, the corrections had to come later by other means; had it been a blog post by Rather, it would have been torn to shreds *in situ*, avoiding misinforming all but the first few readers to hit the story.

    It’s exactly why Microsoft has added blog-style comments to much of the public documentation: however careful they are, errors and unclear statements will creep in, but this way it’s easy for people to point out issues for everyone else to see.

    Earlier today, I saw a classic example: the CEO of Comcast denying that they interfere with their users’ traffic, including a bizarre reference to “Web protocols”. Was this a mistake by the journalist, like the reference earlier to BitTorrent as a “site” rather than a protocol – or was the CEO being deliberately disingenuous, citing non-interference with *Web* protocols (HTTP/HTTPS) as a smokescreen to his known interference with the protocols actually being discussed? In a tech blog, that wouldn’t have gone unchallenged for more than a few minutes, but in the legacy press it’s left to stand, ambiguity and all.

  36. I agree to a point. The interaction is the name of the game, the speed is also, to some extant, an advantage.
    It is very true that printed papers have tons of mistakes in them, every professional sees it in his field when reading pure wrong facts.
    I think that the question is harder once you look at online “old school” press compared to blogs. There are quite a few news websites that have their own journalists and act according to “ethical” codes of journalism and still have the speed and the comments. It is also true that these kind of websites don’t have the same kind of interaction (blogger/users – it’s more the system/users), we look at the comments with a certain degree of distrust, knowing that the conversation is very wide, has PR people commenting and a lot of noise (Israeli news site ynet.co.il gets hundreds of comments per article, sometimes thousands).
    On the other side you get blogs that look like “real press” and are blogs. That their content is sometimes even syndicated to online news (see techcrunch) and that readers that are less sophisticated don’t check the comments after a day, or a few hours and receive the news as is, as if it was check proofed etc.

    The point of ambiguity is where I find the interesting questions that don’t have such a clear answer.

  37. I was thinking the same thing a couple of nights ago, blogs are edited by their audience and the more popular the blog the more scrunity its under

  38. I was thinking the same thing a couple of nights ago, blogs are edited by their audience and the more popular the blog the more scrunity its under

  39. Victor: that’s bull. I can’t write anything I want. First of all, if I did, I’d get told off by my readers. Second of all, I’d put my career in jeopardy if I went idiotic and didn’t care about my readers. Third of all, I didn’t get here by saying “facts be damned.”

    It’s funny, after the panel several PR people came up to me and told me how often the “pros” get it wrong, it’s just that with the pros you don’t often see the corrections. Especially since PR people aren’t very likely to tell off someone from, say, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. That’s not smart if you are in the PR business. At Microsoft we were taught never to argue with journalists who use “ink by the gallon.”

  40. Victor: that’s bull. I can’t write anything I want. First of all, if I did, I’d get told off by my readers. Second of all, I’d put my career in jeopardy if I went idiotic and didn’t care about my readers. Third of all, I didn’t get here by saying “facts be damned.”

    It’s funny, after the panel several PR people came up to me and told me how often the “pros” get it wrong, it’s just that with the pros you don’t often see the corrections. Especially since PR people aren’t very likely to tell off someone from, say, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. That’s not smart if you are in the PR business. At Microsoft we were taught never to argue with journalists who use “ink by the gallon.”

  41. So basically bloggers are no better than the “reporters” at the National Inquirer. They can write whatever the he’ll they want; facts be damned. Frankly I don’t see the “advantage” of the audience correcting a blogger with facts. More than anything, the more often that happens, the more clueless, ill-informed the blogger looks. And his credibility is reduced with each succeeding post that contains inaccuracies.

    I would also submit that the increased sources for legitimate news increases the competitiveness and thus leads to more frequent and timely correction, lest the news outlet quickly attains the credibility of a blogger

  42. I agree Robert. Another advantage is the fact that ‘corrections’ usually show up within the thread of the original article, especially if it comes in the form of a comment as you suggest. Periodicals often publish corrections days (even weeks) later and they usually show up in an out-of-the-way place. Bloggers can also replace or delete a post quickly if it contains truly damaging material. Try deleting hundreds or thousands of newspapers or magazines!

    Derogatory comments about bloggers usually come from people who lump everyone into one category. Just as in traditional journalism there are the trustworthy and non-trustworthy blogs. Savvy web readers pick up clues on the legitimacy of a site fairly quickly.

  43. So basically bloggers are no better than the “reporters” at the National Inquirer. They can write whatever the he’ll they want; facts be damned. Frankly I don’t see the “advantage” of the audience correcting a blogger with facts. More than anything, the more often that happens, the more clueless, ill-informed the blogger looks. And his credibility is reduced with each succeeding post that contains inaccuracies.

    I would also submit that the increased sources for legitimate news increases the competitiveness and thus leads to more frequent and timely correction, lest the news outlet quickly attains the credibility of a blogger

  44. I agree Robert. Another advantage is the fact that ‘corrections’ usually show up within the thread of the original article, especially if it comes in the form of a comment as you suggest. Periodicals often publish corrections days (even weeks) later and they usually show up in an out-of-the-way place. Bloggers can also replace or delete a post quickly if it contains truly damaging material. Try deleting hundreds or thousands of newspapers or magazines!

    Derogatory comments about bloggers usually come from people who lump everyone into one category. Just as in traditional journalism there are the trustworthy and non-trustworthy blogs. Savvy web readers pick up clues on the legitimacy of a site fairly quickly.

  45. Nice post Robert. You really nailed it again. A lot of news really are posted on blogs way earlier then print media. Plus it’s true that there is almost zero interaction between a ‘paper’ journalist and the reader that really. Basically, it’s fast AND interactive, unlike the paper versions.

  46. Nice post Robert. You really nailed it again. A lot of news really are posted on blogs way earlier then print media. Plus it’s true that there is almost zero interaction between a ‘paper’ journalist and the reader that really. Basically, it’s fast AND interactive, unlike the paper versions.

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