Case in point. About halfway through this panel, Owen Ullman, deputy managing editor for news at USA Today, opined that the problem with blogs was that no one knew who was behind them. He described, with a sort of touching helplessness, a huge mass of “noise” on the Internet which it is impossible for journalists to sort through. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but his overall opinion of blogs was that we were irresponsible, wild and crazy, fly-by-night electronic graffiti artists who seem to think they have some right to the label of journalist. We have to pay attention to blogs, he sighed, because they’re “out there,” but he left no doubt he found the whole thing distasteful and harmful to journalism.
Following the panel, I asked Mr. Ullman, who was quite courteous and willing to chat, whether he was aware that most of the top-tier political bloggers on both sides of the spectrum are no longer anonymous, and some (like Kos, Glenn Reynolds and Ass Missile) never have been. He was not. I asked if he’d mind telling me which blogs he read regularly.
None really, he said, but he’s been meaning to get to it.