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Dec 04, 2005


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"So why didn't he practice what he preaches, and do some research before making blanket statements about blogging rather than broadcasting his proud ignorance?"


David Hoggard

How can a man of such stature justify such a hatchet job.

Did he at least offer that he would make a 'post-mortum' effort to finally investigate what he ignorantly railed against?


"If a tree falls in the forest..."

Funny thing, if he doesn't read 'blogs now, he might went this percolates into his world. Of course, reading comments on 'blogs
is probably not even on his radar, so he won't hear this tree

BTW, leakage between Skube's traditional media and 'blogs was something he totally missed.

Mr. Sun

Skube forgot for a moment what he already knew: "If there was sometimes an artlessness about Pyle's writing, the artlessness -- the lack of pretension, the simplicity and genuineness -- was precisely its appeal. 'Somebody said Ernie Pyle wrote like somebody talking to you.'"

There's a bit of foreshadowing in that otherwise wonderful article: Pyle would have never used the word "reportage." Too phony.

diane davis

Am I a bad girl?
I couldn't even get through the whole article. It seemed so lame. But I read every word of Sue's piece.
I have more time to read blogs than to read long unresearched newspaper columns.
See ya in blogsboro.


The beginning of the article where he talks about paying dues is the real tip off. His anger is really over the change in his own profession. Like many traditional journalists, he is reticent to recognize that the world is changing around him. Sadly, his head is so buried in the sand he will never know what hit him when the camel lies down on top of him.

Joel Gillespie

Excellent post Ed. And I think The Spirit hit the nail on the head. And I say this despite my wanting folks to cut Bruce Davis some slack! Really good work.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Ah yes, another opinion with no place to go... I'm happy to see you set him straight. Now when he goes back to class he's gonna have some 'splainin' to do.

Cara Michele

I don't get why he wrote it in the first place if he didn't know anything about blogs and wasn't planning to do the research. But he wrote it like he knew what he was talking about, and most people who read it will assume that he did and they won't know any better, so it's out there now. Any suggestions, Ed?

Billy The Blogging Poet

Suggestions: Link to Ed and Sue's posts concerning the subject and spread the word.


Where are JR and AJ to explain why the column wasn't properly vetted? Was Skube given a theme and asked to argue a point? Was it all pre-arranged?

Paging Romenesko ... Jim Romenesko, please report.

As to the main question, of course bloggers are journalists. And most probably have more work ethic than a majority of those coming out of j-school today.

Journalism is in a funk. One company I know of is in a hiring freeze, again, just fill them pages with AP copy and let the presses roll. Gee. That's kind of what the GNR does. Why don't they just put the coupons in the rack on Sunday so I don't have to throw the rest in the trash?

I bought the GNR three times this week and didn't see one item of interest I had not already read on the web by noon.


So they paid him to write an article, and he admits he did no research for it. If I was the News and Record, I think I'd ask for my money back.

Cara Michele

Billy: I agree about linking, but I was really talking about the people who read the paper but don't read blogs yet, and who'll have a negative opinion about blogs after reading Skube, so they'll be even less likely to read blogs and find out Skube was wrong.

Ed: Can you write about this in your N&R column? Or will that just make N&R look bad for allowing Skube to write about blogs when he was clueless and not homework-inclined?

Brian R.

The impetus for such a article can only be fear of the unknown. Sad...

Ruby Sinreich

Good job, Ed. Skube seems like less of a journalist than many bloggers I know...


I'm very glad you addressed this in such detail, Ed. Might I also point out that there are many fine blogs out there that do not have politics or religion as a theme, but get ignored in every article about blogging that I have seen? (Other than Katie's diary about Bobby, that is.) I spend more time reading them than any others, and they are refreshing.


One more thing Professor Skube got wrong ...

He wrote, "Most reporters ... underappreciated and underpaid, must be astonished to think there are people happy to do it for free."

Truth be told, many reporters in the underpaid profession of journalism (print and electronic) realize they almost ARE "doing it for free." They continue to do it because the news biz, as a former editor of mine liked to say, "is the most fun you can have with your clothes on."

Bloggers -- reporting or commenting or maybe even keeping a teenage diary -- have discovered that gathering facts (and/or thoughts) and writing them for others to read and respond to is wildly satisfying. Same goes for making photos and video and designing a good looking page, print or Web.

The genie is out of the bottle, Professor Skube. There are bloggers out there, just like reporters and professors, who are worthy of respect. And there are some who are not.


I'll agree with everyone, especially Laurie. Most bloggers I know don't always post with religious or political themes, and are enjoyed just the same. I'm sure someone like Skube would never bother to venture to a visual blog, because really. Who has the time? I'm just glad Sue's article was there to expose his for the farce that it is.

The Vision

I just don't understand why you people waste your time. All of you Greensboro 101 bloggers are like a Dungeons and Dragons club full or weirdos and social rejects. This is what gives you solace. Why should everyone have to agree with it?

Take a look at the names of people who post comments on most of these blogs. They're other bloggers!! No one can take a medium seriously that spends half its time trashing other journalists.

Get a backbone and get back to doing some real reporting.

Especially you Ed Cone. King of all blog losers.

Ed Cone

Well, as Mel Brooks said, It's good to be king.

More important, as DP Moynihan said, we're entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts.

I did some real reporting -- I interviewed Skube, and confirmed what that he knows very little about blogging.

If he had written the piece he purported to have written, and just complained that he doesn't have time to take in this flood of info, well, fine. But instead he misstates facts and makes broad generalizations about a publishing platform, as if the platform defines the content, as if Hoder or Josh Marshall is doing the same thing as a kid on LiveJournal.

And he held it up for comparison with some idealized view of journalism, the tenets of which his own article violates.

I've done quite a bit of reporting on the phenomenon of self-publishing on the web over the last five years. Of course there's a lot of blather out there, and the self-congratulation and circle-jerkiness does grow old. But there is a lot more going on than Skube says -- and a little "real reporting" on his part would have shown him that.

Woody Cavenaugh

I don't feel so bad really. I mean, before Ed's blog I had never heard of Michael Skube. Now that I have, I know enough to know he is of the paper-text layer of the writing fossil record.

Who knows he, like the turtle, may survive literature evolution unscathed.

Mike Petrik

Skube is actually a smart guy who is not afraid to go after sacred cows. He is also a very qood writer. But I agree that this column was substandard.

larry leighton

I guess if I were a blogger I'd be insulted by Prof. Skube's dismissal of blogs, too. But I'm not, so I'm not.

Ed Cone

I did not approach the article as a blogger insulted by its dismissal of blogs, but as a reporter dismayed by its reportorial shortcomings and lazy logic.

Joe Killian

I can sympathize with the frustration he expresses as people coming to think there's really very little difference between blogging and actual journalism -- but the rest of the column (which I did finally hunt down and read) is just outlandish.

It's as though he's writing about the blogging world of 1999, when I myself wondered why people were blogging and most of the bloggers I knew were, indeed, teenage girls writing about their personal lives out of some strange emotional exhibitionism.

The medium has moved beyond that and I think we have to look at it as an opportunity for journalism, not a crisis. It does spook me a little that prominent journalism professors are still saying things like this.

Wally Whateley

Skupe's article is frustrating because he, an actual fer-realz journalism professor, responsible for teaching journalism methods, skills, and ethics to students, couldn't be bothered to do any actual reporting. He whined that bloggers don't check their own facts while refusing to check his own facts.


shorter Skube: "Get off my lawn you kids, or I'll call the police!"

Joe Klein's conscience

Oh boy!! Two years later and Skube does another hatchet job. Go figure!!


Since Skube is so dedicated to the principles of, "accuracy, impartiality, fairness, verification, proper attribution", I look forward to his future columns in which he critiques the work of Judith Miller, Michael Gordon, and all the other so-called left-wing journalists who aided and abetted the run-up to the Iraq war.


I think when the Founding Fathers talked about the 'marketplace of ideas', they didn't think it should be limited only to the members of the journalism elite.


"the typical blog is written by a teenage girl who uses it twice a month."

Let me get this strait. Since most poetry is intermitently scrawled out by overwrought teenagers then Ogden Nash, Carl Sandberg and Emily Dicklinson wrote crap?


He's a professional professor who has given up the act of reporting for the art of punditing (and teaching people more ignorant than he). Give the guy a break. All of his sentences are complete, stylized to resemble smarts, punctuated, and the words are spelled right. He filled the non-ad space in the paper assigned to him. Facts don't matter. Really. It's just opinion posing as intelligence. He's merely fulfilling a Publish or Perish requirement for his college credentials.........Another phony poseur, in other words.


Given the horrible death that occurred in Brisbane reported this weekend, I find Sprit's comment in incredibly poor taste.



the "editors" who made additions after he wrote it seem to have been the one's responsible for the inclusion of the web's most name recognized if not the most popular blogs on the web according to Skube. He also stated he'd never heard of some of them much less visited or read them. It's so sad. The editors must have had an assignment for the mummy's casing and putrified wrappings (his PhD and Pulitzer noteriety) and not bothered to notice that the corpse itself had been badly preserved and by this time completely soulless and non-reanimatable.

Doctor Biobrain

How dare he compare the work of street corner preachers with the what NRO posts at The Corner. At least the street corner preacher has a little pride about what he's doing. Those fools at The Corner will say just about anything. Some people are simply beyond shame.

Could this guy really have such a low opinion about political commentary? I doubt it. I think he's just got a bug up his butt thanks to uppity pupils talking about blogs, so he decided to put us in our place all at once. And it worked. I'm going to stop blogging or reading blogs immediately and buy subscriptions to every newspaper that will deliver to my house. And you can most certainly bet that I'll be tossing the editorial page out with every copy. I will not allow that street preaching crapola into my house.

ice weasel

Add in Reynolds and Althouse and you have a fairly scathing portrait of what our universities may be stuffed with. A Pulitzer allows you to basically write whatever you wish without even doing basic research?


There's a reason newspapers have been and continue to die. Skube is just one example (of many).

As for the Pulitzer, I think Robert Cauthorn was right on the money when he said that journalism prizes were one of the reasons that journalism was so bad. (And this is my take on Cauthorn's opinion) It's writers writing for other writers. It's blather. And it's all designed to sound important and not offend anyone (especially those all important sources).


I've never heard of 'Elon University'. Is it legit? Just wonderin'...

Ed Cone

Highly legit -- a small NC school that has really raised it's game in recent years.


The Pulitzer Prize for Journalism?

David Broder has one
Maureen Dowd also.
Paul Gigot ditto.
Thomas Friedman has his.
William Safire got one (and got a medal from Bush the Lesser too).
And that crack researcher Professor Michael Skube's got a Prize?

Yeah, the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism... That must be chosen by a real insiders' bubble of a committee.


So Skube came to a conclusion about a subject he knows little about. This is what happens when cocktail weenies and a glass of pinot grigio are your "sources."

Sounds familiar.

Pete Bogs

"the peers who edit are the people least suited to do it."

I can understand that if you go to journalism school and pay your dues, you might feel threatened by "amateurs" who can easily put their words in front of the whole world in just minutes... but the above statement, while sometimes trues, evinces an elitism that is at the core of legit journalists' contempt for bloggers... there is jealousy, there is the feeling of being threated by the new... overall, I think an intelligent person should have done more research before making the statements he did...

btw, a large part of legit news organizations do is editorial in nature... commentary... it's in the papers, it's in the electonic media... would he say that's not real journalism? according to his words, commentary doesn't fit the criteria...

Ed Cone

"commentary...it's in the papers, it's in the electonic media... would he say that's not real journalism?"

A good point, discussed in the comments beneath this related post.

Jason G.

I did more reporting about Skube's column than he did to write it.



WELLL........d u h of course he has no time to read the blogs....too busy sufin porn!

Goseph Gerbils

To be fair, the question of time does come up in the fifth paragraph of his article, and he spends three paragraphs wondering where people find time to read the web.

"Where do people find time to read these 'newspapers' that are so popular all of a sudden." - Hezekiah Aloysius Skube, 1686

Santa Monica Jeremy

Imagine if I did a quick roundup of a couple of Fox News local reports, the contents of the Paris Hilton Fan Club newsletter, and the articles written for the local Pennysaver weekly... and on that basis concluded that Journalism was a bunch of lazy, badly-written, underreported hogwash?

What on earth?

Plenty of folks drive souped up cars on the weekend, but that doesn't mean that the NASCAR phenomenon is overrated, and "Not real driving".

Plenty of folks put on dinner theater in Nebraska, but you don't dismiss American drama based on the quality of those productions.

In any population, some 90 percent will be so-so to awful. We also don't judge Professor Skube's writing ability based on emails to his mom or his laundry lists. We judge him on his publishing record. And alas, with this piece he has done himself a public disservice, as well as bloggers.


As a citizen and a political junkie, as one very disturbed by what is happening in our country, I keep myself informed, How do I accomplish this? by reading blogs and researching the links provided on those blogs. If I listened to the news on the networks, on cable, or NPR, or newspapers like the NY Times I would not be informed at all because they do not report the news, they report versions of the news, which are woefully short on substance and in many cases outright lies. Your reporter proves this with his less than intelligent analysis of a force to be reckoned with right under his nose that he dismisses as irrelevant. An Example: Firedoglake reported on the Libby trial in a manner far superior to any news outlet, and you are right about peer review, the people who comment on this site and others like it are far from ignorant and they don't miss a trick, sorry Mr. Scooby Doo you left yourself wide open for a little flambe.

Donald from Hawaii

If Professor Michael Skube's half-assed screed about blogging reflects the principles he's teaching journalism students, then by all rights the rest of us should be doubly concerned about the future of academia. Or does he believe that his exalted Pulitzer Prize-winning status somehow exempts him from long-prevailing academic rules regarding the conduct of proper research and documentation?


He's a professor of journalism at Elon and doesn't know about, much less read, the blogs associated and linked to by area newspapers?

That's a truly remarkable amount of incompetence, hypocrisy, arrogance, and obliviousness to pack into a few short columns.

Imagine the state of reporting in the future, if this is the quality of instruction and example tomorrow's "journalists" are getting at the Elon journalism program today.


Think of his poor students - paying handsomely for an education only to discover one of their professors is a complete fraud.

If I were a student of Skube's, I wouldn't think he had any right to grade my work.

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