Well, blogging is more difficult than I thought it would be.
Not difficult, per se, but the dedication involved in posting religiously (or at least semi-regularly) is hard to come by sometimes. I have had three interviews by now, more scheduled to come, and still I have yet to blog about any of them. And one was even back in March. But the last interview with Patrick from thelostogle.com put me in my place. He started waxing poetical about ‘daily postings’ and ‘sacrificing personal lives.’ I immediately had an inward cringe that may have had something to do with the food (Patrick found an ant in his) but probably was in conjunction with the fact that I have neglected this blog like the proverbial stepchild.
I shall now try to rectify the situation.
March 31. 10:30 A.M. IHOP in Norman
Richard Hall, online assistant editor at The Oklahoman, helps keep the site newsok.com up and running. At this leisurely juice breakfast, in between the more pressing matters of which zombie book and movie was the best and the effects of sleep deprivation on the body, Richard mentioned some things about blogs that put a new perspective on them.
He said he considers blogs supplements to news, like a virtual sidebar.
I have always been a personal fan of sidebars (Come on. They give better play to your piece because editors love the things, they contain all the fun stuff that might have been the victims of editorial slayings, and really, they a lot of times are read more than the actual story). This idea that blogs are sidebars to stories intrigued me. That is still newsy. That is still ‘journalism.’
He also said the blogs can generate a lot of traffic for the site in general (if they are any good, that is) and mentioned Steve Lackmeyer’s piece on the ‘snowstorm’ of weeks past and the negative effect the erroneous forecasts had on local businesses (the first post, of which there were several follow ups, here) and how much traffic that created for the site. (Oddly enough, to be fair on links here, thelostogle.com got in on some of that action too in several posts).
Richard had way more to say on the subject, but I can’t give all of it away. I have to save some tidbits for the behemoth story awaiting my attention.
April 6. 3:00 P.M. Gaylord Hall.
Warren Vieth, a wonderful professor and friend, sat down with me to discuss the very scary future of the journalism world, including blogs.
During the last election, Warren experimented with a blog placed on newsok.com where journalism students from one of his classes blogged about all things election. This was his first real foray into the blogging world and he said he wasn’t quite sure whether blogs carried the same status as news. The reason? Blogs, he said, don’t have to follow journalistic standards the same way news should have to.
However, as interesting as this all was, the part that really got to me was his analysis of this phenomena. He said looking through the history of journalism, it did not always have the same standards as modern journalism claims to have. Perhaps, he said, this blogging phenomena is not a positive change into a new more technological application of journalism, but a degradation of journalism into a lower state, a backwards regression, if you will.
Wow. Dismal for someone who has chosen a career path in journalism, such as myself. But still, I couldn’t help but run with this idea and thought about it for a long time afterward. The industry is changing, that is for certain. And no one seems to know into what, but maybe it won’t progress forward into a more reliable, more trustworthy, more convenient system as I have always assumed.
Warren really made me think, also, about what definition I wanted to use for ‘blogs’ and ‘journalism’ in this project. I had previously operated with an everything goes mentality, but after our chat, I think I have narrowed down both terms to something usable and reasonable in respects to both the project and the larger picture of online activities.
Finally, he told me this story about the foreign correspondent he took over for in Iraq and compared it to blogs. On second thought, I will save that for the final paper.
Last but not least, folks.
April 7, 11:20 A.M. Kona Ranch on Meridian.
The first thing that struck me about Patrick is he didn’t look like the South Park avatar he told me to look for at the restaurant. After the initial confusion died down, we were seated at a table and began the first awkward conversations that are characteristic of longer interviews. You’re going to be there for a while, so you need to stretch out talking points, yet, sitting in relative quiet is not fun for either the interviewer or interviewee. I’m not even going to discuss the fun dance you must do when food is involved as well– should you eat, should you stop talking and let them eat, what will you talk about while eating if you do so? Craziness.
Fortunately, Patrick quickly began to lead my list of easiest people to interview. He basically just took off on the questions and by the end of lunch was a quite pleasant man to talk to.
Although I must keep his identity secret (think Ogle superhero, Batman-esque), Patrick is part of the brains behind thelostogle.com, as previously mentioned. He also has a big-person job as well and blogs on the side for fun.
Anyway, Patrick definitely sees his blog as news and, furthermore, says he and the other writers have their own set of standards, which are basically, tell the truth. If they were consistentlymessing up, readers would lose trust and turn away from them. Makes sense.
He also told of how he corrects mistakes on the site and what he thinks is just common courtesy in the blogging world in terms of linking to sites and giving credit where it is due. He also discussed what he sees as a new evolving idea of fair use on the web, but as that all is prime law material, that will be going to my professor in my paper.
The future of papers was another topic of discussion and how blogs might claim an even larger part of the media once the current elder generation, um, leaves this world, and the younger, more tech savvy people take over.
All in all, the interviews I have had covered a multitude of topics and provided me with much to write about (whittling those 60 inches for Professor Kerr, yay!)
Okay. Now to get the other interviews done and the story out of the way. Then: graduation!