Tech no be all for journos

My friend Bruce and I were discussing the use of technology — particular the utility of blogging — last evening during a long-distance chat. Bruce was traveling the Great Trail of Broken Tail Lights that is North Central Expressway to the north of Dallas while I was waiting in my Upper Texas Coastal city for my girlfriend to cease being pissed off at me for a few minutes for whatever was my latest transgression. Ah love. Ahem.

I told Bruce that I felt newspapers — in their true newspaper fashion — tend to overdo blogs and technology. The philosophy of most newspaper executives is similar to that of a substance abuser. One pill works, so a whole bottle must work even better. So goes newspapers whose publishers and ad director and editor who feel blogs are the greatest thing since sliced cheese so a whole lot of blogs and techno-hooey will bring sunshine into their readers’ lives and every news exec will get a raise hereafter. Hereafter, of course, their reporters’ old ’92 Accord or ’90 Sentra leaves a tailpipe or a universal joint in the newspaper parking lot. And so it goes.

Today I read of a study that shows newspaper blogs are not significantly increasing public discourse in political matters. That is not wholly an unexpected finding as far as I am concerned. In fact, despite an increase in blog readership in larger newspaper sites:

” … the results of our study call into question whether newspapers are wasting valuable staff resources. The time it takes a reporter to post a blog entry that attracts 10 or fewer comments could be time better spent in other areas. Newspapers might consider spending staff time monitoring blogs as sources of news rather than trying to re-create the blogosphere on their Web sites.”

To a former newspaper reporter, that too is not a significant revelation. That even though newspaper editors will always find a way to piss away their valuable staff resources one way or the other. Three years since I worked full time as a newspaper reporter and I feel like I kicked the habit. Unfortunately, I haven’t been freelancing as much as I would like either.

Take it or leave it, I thought I would throw in a little inside baseball about newspapers and why blogs aren’t enough to save the might ink-stained wretches from the ruin of techno-bulls**t.

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