Newspaper Blogging

Atrios is wondering why alt weeklies haven’t been all over the blogging thing.

For my part, it’s pet peeve of mine, newspapers’ “official” blogs. I think a lot of them either have nothing to say or say such good stuff it shames the rest of the paper’s commentary and criticism.

I’d rather newspapers (alt weeklies included) do what newspapers are good at, or better yet, come up with something new all their own instead of jumping on the latest fad in yet another more-desperate-than-a-prom-date attempt to garner new readers. Not all journalists make good bloggers.

But, since I’ve been meaning to point this out anyway, here’s one who does:

Phyllis Long called me today to talk about last night’s town hall meeting. We both heard most of the comments at the Miracle Center on the south side of Racine.

And she pointed out something I’d been thinking. While it was crucial to have a meeting like that, the focus seemed to be on elected officials. They got several minutes to speak.

Great for sound bytes, not for doable solutions. Besides, we hear their opinions all the time.

The residents are the ones who’ll have to do the legwork to fix this. They got only one minute each, and they didn’t get to ask the people they really wanted to answer their questions: the first panel, which included the highest-ranking officials. What Long would’ve liked to see was a bunch of the city’s nonprofit agencies and community programs there. I agree. Since these murders, I’ve heard of boatloads of programs I never knew existed. I’m sure few of the people who really need them know about them, either.

We heard of multiple re-entry programs and mentoring programs fighting for the same dollars. We need these groups to meet, so we can stop duplicating efforts and maximize the effect we can make with the dollars we have. Then we have to get the word out. Communication is usually a big part of the battle.

I grew up with the Racine Journal Times and there’s plenty of things about the paper I’m not wild about. But this guy’s blog is precisely what a local news blog should be: full of local voices, interesting tidbits, a little fun, perspective on current events (including a horrifying series of murders), a tone that sounds like the people I grew up with. I don’t always agree with Moore, but he does a damn fine job. If newspapers want to blog, they might look at this guy for a lesson how.

A.