Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The DA has a blog

Well, actually his press guy does. But this blog that I came across (and that just started this month), from the U.S. attorney's office in western Missouri is interesting.

It's run by Don Ledford, the public affairs officer, and as he said in his first posting:
This site doesn't replace our existing "official" Web site, where we will continue to post news releases and other information. Instead, this site will operate more informally, mostly to provide information that doesn't typically generate a news release -- such as motions filed or hearings scheduled.

So far, it appears to be doing that, and even admitting when nothing's happening, as this terse June 9 post showed: "Slow news day at the courthouse ... no trials, no sentencings, no guilty pleas in Kansas City, Springfield and Jefferson City." (However, the newsman in me always says to follow Reagan's maxim on days like that: Trust, but verify.)

I don't know Ledford, but I suspect it takes a special kind of public affairs officer to pull this off -- one who is confident in his or her position with the U.S. attorney's office but also with his or her relationship with the press. I suspect more will try, but fewer will get it right.

Having been a court/cops rat for large parts of my newsroom life, I sure would have liked to have had something like this to check in on. The danger, of course, is that you become complacent with something like this, and so you don't go chatting up the clerks and aides who give you the best stuff. With ubiquitous information, we have to remind ourselves that sometimes it can become too easy.


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