Eric Magnuson

My unique intersection of cooperation, sustainable business and local living economies.

Until I re-prioritize blog publishing, all my contributions to the noise can be found on Twitter.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Newspapers and blogs - how to get it wrong

All over the country newspapers are turning to blogs in an attempt to get hip. Most are using blogs as an alternate publishing vehicle for its writers, some are attempting to go further. In the case of the Austin American-Statesman, the attempt was to create a community of citizen bloggers. In a rare example of public self-reflection, Kevin Brass gives us a peek into why he thinks his paper's blog is a failure.

There are a lot of valuable lessons for others looking to create a platform for bloggers. One of the most basic of those lessons is the one I'll end this post with. As is often the case when old media attempts to enter the new media realm, the Statesman's blog site is chock-full of rules, disclaimers, and warnings sure to annoy anyone raised in the Internet era. Fans interested in responding to staff-written blogs are warned that their notes won't be posted until "reviewed" by the staffer. In a medium that thrives on the lack of boundaries and hierarchy, the Statesman promises to feature blogs the editors deem worthy, but only those from "people who are keeping their language clean and civil."
The Internet is built to go around obstacles. When you put up barriers to expression people will go around you. The old-model folks are sure taking a long time to get this into their heads.


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