I think the US Soldier is off base, so to speak, with this post from Iraq saying the media was wrong to harp on the dangers facing voters yesterday. Not covering the threats would be irresponsible, and I can't imagine that the possibilty of carnage was any kind of surprise.
His closing line is more on target: "I hope everyone at home is as jacked up as we are about how things went yesterday."
"Carolina has not yet proved itself in a really tough road game, or against a top-notch opponent playing its best (GA Tech is good, but they were beginning a swoon when they came to Chapel Hill). So let's not award the Tar Heels any titles just yet."
Doug Clark, middle-aged white guy, seems an unlikely advertisement for newsroom diversity. But Clark, a conservative editorial writer for the N&R, represents something often perceived as lacking at newspapers: ideological diversity. His new weblog shows how the web might begin to remake a paper's image.
However diverse newsrooms actually are, they are almost certainly more diverse than they are perceived to be by the public, or than can be conveyed under the old rules of limited space and stylistic uniformity. Those surveys showing the preponderance of liberal journalists create a false picture of uniformity, because they don't tell you much about the particlar views held by individuals on specific issues. They don't tell you how people come to their conclusions.
That's changing. Doug Clark's voice is already part of the News & Record, but it's been heard only in unsigned editorials and once-a-week columns. Now he can sing solo.
A reader who hits Doug's blog, and reads his comments over at religion writer Nancy McLaughlin's blog -- itself a welcome addition to Greensboro's conversation, and another window into the N&R's own internal culture -- starts to see that the newsroom is already a more complex and interesting place than the daily print edition can show.
More comments from more readers, and more blogs from staffers, should continue this process of discovery and connection.
Beginning Tuesday, letters to the editor that are published in the News & Record also will be available online in a Web log format daily at blog.news-record.com/staff/letters/.
We're adding this feature for two reasons. First, the blog format will enable readers to discuss and comment on each individual letter. Second, it will enable bloggers and other online writers to link directly to an individual letter, rather than just to a Web page containing multiple letters.
We hope this change will make the online version of our printed letters to the editor more useful as reference material and as topics for public discussion.
NYT: "Message from Iraq" (lead editorial): "And in an impressive range of mainly Shiite and Kurdish cities, a long silenced majority of ordinary Iraqis defied threats of deadly mayhem to cast votes for a new, and hopefully democratic, political order. That is a message that all but the most nihilistic of the armed insurgents will have to accept...For now at least, the multiple political failures that marked the run-up to the voting stand eclipsed by a remarkably successful election day."
Muller: "Woods' book is like Malkin's, except that its thesis is that everything most people know about all of American history is leftist garbage.
"No small task, eh? And Dr. Woods does it in just 246 pages. With wide margins, no less!"
Woods, feted on MSNBC and Fox News, is a co-founder of the League of the South, a neo-secessionist group with some unseemly ideas about race and American culture. Lots of links and background at IsThatLegal.
Muller: "With an eager and sycophantic right-wing media machine to bring Woods' words to an enormous audience, the Old South has reason for optimism."
UPDATE: Instapundit continues the beat-down. "As a political force, neo-Confederate sentiment is pretty trivial at the moment, even compared to the decaying remnants of Marxism. But that's no reason not to smack it down when it appears." He also points to negative reactions to the book cited by Powerline.
This is the banner headline at the NYT site, very large type at the top of the page, linking to this article:
Iraqi Voters Turn out in High Numbers Despite Attacks Intended to Deter Them
The AP says, "The Arab world is anything but indifferent to Sunday's polling in Iraq, which has dual implications for the restive region. It will almost certainly bring to power Iraq's long-suppressed Shiite Muslims, boosting the sect's influence in this Sunni Muslim-dominated area. It also will mean Washington has succeeded in bringing democracy to Iraq by force -- at least for the moment -- a precedent that could shake up the autocratic Arab world."
UPDATE: The Times adds a front-page photo of a woman holding up an ink-stained finger, the triumphant signal of an Iraqi voter.
I'm no expert at reading radio ratings...but these numbers make it look like Brad and Britt at WZTK are kicking butt, and that at least some of their market share may be coming from traditional talk biggie WSJS and from the morning shows on rock stations WVBZ and WKRR...I do enjoy the local Chris and Chris show, but anything that diminishes the world of John Boy & Billy is a positive...
John Robinson: "One of the problems about traditional newspaper folk discussing blogging is that they misunderstand it... I understand where the traditional journalists are coming from. I was in that place a year ago."
Iraq election coverage from BBC. Early reports look quite good. Bush's braintrust should be working a drive-thru window somewhere instead of running the occupation, but that doesn't change the fact that a successful election would be a good thing for Iraq, the US, and the world.
High Point Enterprise editor Tom Blount boldly asserts that blogs won't kill newspapers. Yawn. A dispatch from the Jack Shafer school of strawmanicide.
Dude spends much of his column regurgitating some prefab definition of blogging, and none of it actually looking at the use of blogs in the real world. And then...he punts. "I certainly won't say the High Point Enterprise will never have blogs. In a world that changes seemingly minute by minute, that would be foolhardy. Just don't expect any in the next few months."
He might want to read Jon Lowder, and think about the fact that the N&R is a lot closer to him than it is to Winston-Salem. Meanwhile, readers are already weighing in...(thanks for the link, John).
In the final book of "The Chronicles of Narnia," there is a description of a building that is bigger inside than it is outside. That's how I see traditional journalism in the age of the Internet.
My newspaper column this morning is about using the web to enlarge and improve the flow of information into traditional media, as well as out of it.
The BloJoCred conference helped me understand how profound the changes at work really are. "Alex Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who is now a lecturer at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, asked me if The New York Times could possibly emulate the News & Record. That's a question last posed, well, never."
One thing discussed at the conference that I should have included in the column is the fact that MSNBC posted thousands of tsunami videos by amateurs at its website. Even when I try to enumerate the changes going on, I miss some.
Heh. Definitely not Glenn's best work. If "the left" is really represented by people like this sad 9/11 apologist, then "the right" is represented by David Duke.
One thing I don't like in the comments to Max's post -- and I sometimes see this in Atrios' otherwise enjoyable Bobo's world series -- is snarking about southerners as right-wing cranks. That's buying into the lame Red/Blue mentality. Last I checked, Rick Santorum was from PA and I'm from NC. John Edwards and Bill Clinton are southerners. Martin Luther King Jr. and Richardson Preyer were southerners. There are lots of fine progressives and Democrats across the south, working hard to make a difference -- and for that matter, plenty of fine conservatives and Republicans doing the same. Quit bashing the region, please.
The N&R's current archive system is terrible -- links rot and then you really have to hunt for a story in order to buy it. I hear they will be fixing that. And maybe they will do more...
UPDATE: John Robinson responds: "Give some of us time to get there."
Cool. But in the meantime, fixing the broken pay-for-archives system will bring you more money...which might make free archives look even less appealing to the bean-counters -- or might show them the demand that's really out there, and drive them to figure out ways to unchain the files and sell into that market.
Is Greensboro's blog revolution over-hyped? In terms of dreams realized, sure. In terms of possibilities recognized, not at all.
Certainly we've gotten a lot of attention for what's going on at the daily paper and within the independent blog community. My newspaper column tomorrow touches on that subject.
Is Greensboro changing the face of journalism as we know it, and doing it yesterday? No. The real world doesn't work that way.
But what's happening here is interesting precisely because it is happening in the real world, where change is more conditional and the circumstances that allow it can be fragile.
A good-sized daily newspaper has announced that it will be making its website more open to the public -- a public square, they call it -- and soliciting input on how that might be done along the way. The paper is edited by a guy who blogs and blogs well, and it has introduced several blogs under its own rubric, and the guy running the program has been blogging under his own steam for about three years. And they are talking about doing things like incorporating independent bloggers on their site.
Yet the total number of readers is still small, and the community still self-referential. The world has not shifted on its axis. Maybe there will be moments when big leaps forward happen -- the marketing muscle of the N&R could help create such a moment -- or maybe this will unfold slowly until one day we look up and the future is here.
Something is trying to happen in Greensboro. If you compare the weblog scene here and now to the situation one year ago, the progress is phenomenal. But it's an experiment. The people behind it are sincere and committed. It could falter, at least as a business proposition, which would lead some to say it failed. It may succeed in ways that the mass market or at least current understanding does not recognize as success.
My paternal grandmother, Isabel Frank Cone, was famously unsentimental, except in regard to her Irish Setters and her father, The Judge. Yet we calibrate meaning according to circumstance; one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me was the seemingly austere "you're a nice boy" with which she blessed me on the night before I moved to New York at the age of 22.
In any event, her lack of sentimentality was not inherited by her survivng son, my uncle Terry, who called to request that I mark her centennial today by placing a flower on her grave, which I (also afflicted with a sentimental gene) did this afternoon.
A long, positive post from a local reserve officer serving in Iraq at the Diary of a Soldier blog. I was interested in his description of his commander: "She is a West Point Graduate, and her day job is a stay at home mom. But, when she puts on the Army greens, she is all about being a soldier. I am constantly amazed at her ability to transition from wife and mom to soldier. She is not only a tribute to women in the military but to all leaders in our profession."
His nonchalant account of an aborted attack on his transport plane, and of the mortars that provide a soundtrack to mealtime, don't conceal the danger he and his troops face every day, they just make it sound like part of the job.
Let's hope these elections are the start of something positive over there.
More here about Bible curricula in public schools, including a quote from NCBCPS president Elizabeth Ridenour: "There's no indoctrination. We do not refer to it as the truth." (Thanks for the tip, Sally.)
Huh. Does her website seem a bit less reserved about its mission, or is that just me?
Greensboro101: "This is not about some libertarian issue of freedom from government as (Greensboro City Councilman Robbie) Perkins would paint it, it is about ass-covering for failure to take pollution problems seriously in the past."
Hmm, what says more about what actually went on at BloJoCred -- the email I got yesterday from NYT managing editor Jill Abramson asking for more info about how the N&R is using weblogs, or the shoot-the-strawman column by Slate's Jack Shafer boldly stating that blogs will not kill mainstream media?
Jack smugly predicts that he'll be the target of "Shafer doesn't get it" responses from bloggers. Sorry, Jack, but "Shafer doesn't listen" is more like it.
Or maybe we were at different conferences. Because at the one I attended, the sense of the room was in no way pointing to blogs killing big media. That idea was in fact refuted on multiple occasions.
Oh, he manages to cherrypick a few moments from hours of conversation, chooses some instances of triumphalism and heated rhetoric, and ignores the more substantive points about the rise of personal publishing and its confluence with big media. (Jay Rosen summed up the conference this way: "Now life in a shared media space can be plotted.")
Yeah, there's hype around what's going on. Shafer brought home a story about the hype and left out the part about what's going on.
More choice words: "lazy," "intellectually dishonest, "a few doors up from lying, but the same general neighborhood."
Note to self: don't piss off Jay Rosen.
"...Shafer wants a simpler set-up: the starry-eyed, hotheaded bloggers comically boasting of their powers to destroy the major media vs. the cool and clear-eyed Slate critic, who, remembering his history, effortlessly debunks their totalizing claims.
But that is the work of a cartoonist, not a columnist."
Inside Scoop asks what ever happened to the $137 million in bond money approved for a bunch of projects in 2000 by Greensboro voters...and he links to a list of answers, and promises to give details on specifc projects as requested.
A brief recap: "Two new libraries: Check. Carolyn Allen Park: Check. Greensboro Sportsplex: Check. Zoo at the Natural Science Center: Ehh, not so much."
A suggestion on where to look for leadership in creating an ACC Hall of Fame in Greensboro, from my February 2, 2003 column: "Jefferson-Pilot, a local company with significant broadcasting and advertising ties to the league, which can provide funds for the project and influence with the ACC. This is JP's chance to...provid(e) critical corporate leadership for its hometown - while leveraging its own well-established marketing strategy."
They publish very little about the actual curriculum, and don't include much info on the books and videos they sell at what they themselves label a "ministry"-- just short blurbs like this one for a video "demonstrating that the current 'seperation of church and state' is something never intended by the Founding Fathers."
They are closely associated with the American Family Association, a hard-line power in the culture war, and encourage you to "visit and support" other sites "supportive of our cause," including links to creationist sites.
They are prone to ahistorical statements, such as this one: "The Bible was the foundation and blueprint for our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, educational system, and our entire history until the last 20 to 30 years."
They offer themselves in explicit contrast to "politically correct world religions courses" which "tend to promote faiths such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism" and don't teach "a true Bible curriculum."
Another paid-for pundit on the Bush administration gravy train. Maggie Gallagher wrote in support of a Bush pro-marriage proposal in the National Review Online and elsewhere, but didn't mention that she had signed a $21,500 contract with HHS to cheerlead for the administration's marriage agenda.
Gallagher says she forgot about the deal, but no working journalist is going to buy that story. As Constantine von Hoffman writes to Romenesko, "I can't remember the last time I signed a contract for $21k and forgot about it."
Hoggard says the N&R is changing the way it offers online news -- and in the comments, John Robinson concurs. A popular meme at BloJoCred -- that newspapers should understand themselves as online publishers with print editions -- is adapting to a real-world environment.
Big lies: an NYT editorial observer piece by Adam Cohen on "The Difference Between Politically Incorrect and Historically Wrong," which examines a popular book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.
Civil Rights laws, Civil War, Marshall Plan, Social Security -- all bad things according to this new tome.
Cohen: "It is tempting to dismiss the book as fringe scholarship, not worth worrying about, but the numbers say otherwise. It is being snapped up on college campuses and, helped along by plugs from Fox News and other conservative media, it recently soared to No. 8 on the New York Times paperback best-seller list."
I thought it was the left that was supposed to have trouble with the concept of objective truth?
Wish I'd thought of it two years ago. Oh yeah, I did...as did (in one of those Newton and Leibniz simultaneously inventing calculus moments, although I'm not sure mere calculus really rates the comparison) a group led by Dick Grubar.
N&R op-ed boss Alllen Johnson (my editor and friend) will start blogging on January 31 -- but his test site is already attracting comments. Good idea, too, this notion of demystifying blogs and blogging as much as possible.
Jim Rome is on the air in the Triad, AM 790 sports radio, noon to three.
I didn't know there was an AM 790 sports radio until I saw this ad in the N&R. And now I'm doing viral marketing, or propagating the meme, or something. Because I do enjoy Jim Rome on the radio, sometimes.
Gillmor: "I recognize the institutional and financial hurdles that will make it difficult to pull off in many companies today, even if they like the idea in a general sense. But I also believe it's almost inevitable."