Tuesday, April 25, 2006

# Posted 10:26 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

JOURNALISTS BEHAVING BADLY: Howard Kurtz had an interesting article yesterday about LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik, whose behavior has come a bit unhinged as a result of his blogging.

Although we bloggers tend to delight in the MSM's travails, Hiltzik's story actually vindicates certain MSM criticisms of the blogosphere. They say you need editors to ensure quality control. Well, once Hiltzik started a blog and escaped the control of his editors, things went down hill very fast.

I was also struck by the following passage in Kurtz's article:
Washingtonpost.com, which carries blogs by more than two dozen of the newspaper's staffers (including this columnist), caused an online uproar last month by hiring 24-year-old Ben Domenech as a conservative blogger. Domenech resigned under pressure after three days when liberal bloggers unearthed ample evidence that in the past he had lifted material from other writers without attribution.
Two dozen blogs at the WaPo? I had no idea. The line between the blogosphere and the MSM is blurring very quickly. As for Ben, I met him a while back and thought he was a nice guy, so I'm sorry to hear that he did something so unethical. Thankfully, other bloggers forced Ben's plagiarism into the spotlight and made him accountable.
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I wonder how far the WaPo streches the definition of 'blog'?
When I worked (very briefly) at the Post they were very much all about the importance of the net -they have 7 million uniques daily, and a paper circulation of just over a million (IIRC). You can't really ignore figures like that. They bought the Slate and all sorts of other blogs at rates that for them were really negligible - but then the income pa from the site is equally negligible for a newspaper.

I think they're eager to diversify (and to be seen diversifying). Feature and occasionally op-ed writers do online chats.
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