Thursday, October 26, 2006

A bit of a blogging oversight at SPJ

SPJ President Christine Tatum has a blog, Fredom of the Prez, that's a pretty good read. But the mechanics of a post in which she snarks at Santa Barbara News-Press editorial page editor Travis Armstrong show a bit of an oversight in the blogging ethic.

To her credit, she links to Armstrong's editorial critical of SPJ, and she includes her e-mail exchange with him in the comments. But then she goes on to launch a snark at a Nieman Watchdog post by Gilbert Cranberg that also calls into question whether SPJ is keeping the kid gloves on about the L.A. Times' problems because, maybe, there are corporate sponsorships and Tatum's former Tribune ties involved.

I doubt it, and Tatum gives a lengthy explanation to go with her earlier explanation that I thought was quite clear.

But here's where the blogging thing breaks down a little. Tatum never links to that Nieman post, even though she throws this little bomblet: (Note to commentators posting on the Nieman Watchdog Web site: If you want to quote me, please do so completely -- and thus accurately).

This is where I think journalists still struggle a little with the blogging thing. Not only should Tatum have linked to the post, she should have gone over to the Nieman blog and posted lengthier comments there explaining her position. Cranberg's just as guilty for quoting her and not linking back to her original post.

We'll chalk it up to an oversight on both their parts. But let's recap -- blogging is about linking -- to all your critics as well as all your supporters. It's what keeps the conversation robust and transparent. Too many journalism organizations still have a bit of a hard time with that. Get over it.


Do read Tatum's post on her flight from hell on United. Maybe someone should set up a central blog for airline horror stories (although a few seem buried in forums on other sites). Sort of a citizen journalism of the air. If there is one, I don't know of it and haven't found it, but there sure is plenty of material.


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