Trying to keep the chronology going - this is back to Monday of this week.
I had a nice and mostly non-confrontational interview with a journalist-with-a-capital-J about my new role at AnnArbor.com . The discussion seemed to center on what kinds of standards (or lack of standards) people have when they self-identify as bloggers, and how that compares with the ideal of what a professional journalist is supposed to be.
I've been wrestling with this, in part because I've been blogging so long (since 1999) that there has been a big shift in what the popular press has characterized and categorized bloggers as. When I started, the blogger was either the extremely widely read Internet explorer who kept a log of the many interesting things that came across their path, or it was the expert in some field (at times a very narrow field) who used a less formal sequential writing tool to capture details and query others in their niche interest about what was going on and relevant.
It's only much later that in some people's minds that blogger turned into the text equivalent of political talk radio show host as seen in text. There it's been obvious that whatever standards of practice there are are much less interested in pursuit of Truth or of careful observation and much more about propoganda in one form or another. Not that the press and the media and public relations hasn't done propoganda for many years - it's just that it's not the norm for old school blogging.
I'm hopeful as I suppose I have to be that AnnArbor.com's experiment with giving voice to readers as contributors makes for something that adds to the whole operation. I've talked to any number of people for whom when I describe what I'm looking for as "experts who can write but who are not professional writers", rather than "bloggers with free reign to spew unsourced and unedited opinion", that some of the concerns ease. But I suspect it will take a whole year of refining what the Ann Arbor School of Blogging has as a style and attitude that sets it apart from the rest of the world that will make the difference.