Tuesday, December 14, 2004

LA Times Blogging via The Guardian (UK)

Today's Guardian relates the intrigue of inside blogging at the Los Angeles Times. Since it was surprising to see a local matter detailed at length in a British newspaper, I am including the article in full:

Sign-off of the Times

Almost as fast as it went up, it was gone. A blogger claiming to be a disgruntled LA Times journalist clearly had second thoughts about their new blog, Third Floor View. The site was only live for a matter of days before it was yanked from the web this afternoon, after only a couple of posts: one listing some of the issues they were planning to write about (visible on the Google cache of the blog), and the most recent berating the newspaper's managers for paying too much mind to the New York Times's front page (quoted at length at Patterico's Pontifications).

LAObserved wrote on Sunday: "It will be interesting to see whether, ultimately, he or she sheds light or turns out to be a disgruntled copy pusher with a grudge." It seems that question will remain unanswered, unless the blog makes a reappearance.

Another LA blog, LA Voice, writes of the situation:
"It'll be interesting to watch his/her identity unravel in the coming months, as doubtless it could, given enough interest from the glassed-in offices or the desk in the next pod over."
Perhaps Third Floor View took heed of these prognostications and decided to call it a day before s/he was found out.

Had they not given up so fast, they could have joined former LA Times staffer Ken Reich, whose Take Back the Times blog is described by LA Voice as "consistently relentless blog-critique".
Are media managers quaking in their boots? Newspaper bosses can see the creation of personal blogs by their staff as a threat - (as did CNN when it asked Kevin Sites to stop blogging a while back) or a boon, depending on how much they know and care about blogs. This hardly matters, however. As CyberJournalist.net's list of journalists with blogs and this UK version of the list at the Big Blog Company (at the foot of a post about a "blogging boot camp" they are running for journalists - another sign of the tide turning) shows, there are a lot of newspaper journalists with personal blogs (including, er, me).

And unless media organisations impose a heavy-handed and creativity-killing ban on journalists' personal blogs, there is every likelihood that the number of hacks with personal blogs will boom during 2005. If newspapers are to embrace the two-way conversation with readers predicted by Dan Gillmor and others, they are going to have to accept that the dialogue will feature their own staff. Anyway, there are plenty of examples of best practice out there: not least the BBC's Stuart Hughes and Guardian Unlimited's very own Neil McIntosh.

Posted by Jane Perrone at December 14, 2004 03:39 PM

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