Rachel Smolkin of the American Journalism Review– a very sharp writer and an old friend from college journalism days– has a new story in the AJR on “The Expanding Blogosphere,” in large part about the nexus between bloggers and the political press and accordingly concentrating on the pro/ semipro world of bloggers and blogs currently or formerly associated with magazines and newspapers, with a bit about les affaires Lott [Trent, not John] and Kos. No real surprises for those of us who follow this stuff anyways, but a very nice piece that avoids either blog triumphalism or dismissiveness. One good passage:
Kevin Drum, a self-described “centrist liberal” and one of the more contemplative bloggers, spent two decades as a software-marketing executive before launching his blog in August 2002. In mid-March, he agreed to blog for The Washington Monthly (www.washingtonmonthly.com).
His unedited blog is a comfortable fit with the magazine’s advocacy. But Drum notes that bloggers such as Reynolds and the anonymous Atrios (www.atrios.blogspot.com) are not nearly so sober, and that style “is part of what makes blogs a lot of fun.” Drum worries “if you try to put the rules of mainstream journalism onto blogs, you end up sucking the life out of them.”
While professional journalism has standards for sourcing and reporting, with blogs, the whole point “is that the standards are lower,” Drum says. “They’re able to toss stuff out that a reporter on a daily newspaper couldn’t. They express opinions loudly and with fervor. It’s not clear to me how those two things can intersect.”
Drum, who holds a journalism degree from California State University, Long Beach, admits to “some doubt about whether blogging and professional journalism can go together… If it turns out at the end of the year that the five most popular blogs are