Some good news. I've been given permission to republish Meg Hourihan's excellent essay on weblogs. At the time it came out I was getting ready to write something similar, it was the right time for the weblog world to define weblogs, because so many journalists had been trying to do it. Meg did such a great job, and I want to carry more voices through DaveNet, so I asked her, and then her editor at O'Reilly for permission, and this morning they said yes.
From there, I want to start an outline about what a weblog is, because there's more to say. Maybe it'll be a three-column table. In column 1, a topic. For example: Fact-checking. In the second column, how centralized journalism does it; and in the third column, how it works in the weblog world. That way, if someone understands how fact-checking works in the print world, they have a basis for understanding how it works when done in the open.
Perhaps you see more errors in weblogs, but they can get corrected quickly. I guess the diff is that you can see the process in weblogs. Some people say this is a bad thing, but I think it's good. When I see writing that's too polished, where the grammar is too perfect, I am suspicious that at a deeper level it has been sanitized and dumbed-down. I like getting my news and opinion straight from the source without the middleman.
Another row. In column 1, “Research”. In column 2, “A reporter spends two weeks interviewing experts, with transcription errors, dumbing-down, etc added.” In column 3, “Experts spend a lifetime trying new ideas, learning from their mistakes, and learning how to explain their philosophy. Weblogs let them publish their ideas without intermediaries.”