Man, this is going to go on all week.
Norman over at One Man’s Trash points out that Save Richmond was interviewed but none of their responses were used in the article. But they’ve posted their response to the initial e-mail (it’s at the top right now, but scroll down to see it if you go later today):
Is blogging a valid source of news in the community, or just a place to let off steam?
Well, take the performing arts center story. We first reported Brad Armstrong’s high salary, which the T-D picked up the next day last June. (Ask Jeff Kelly to verify.) Since then we’ve consistently done a better job than the T-D at combing through the details of the Virginia Performing Arts Center’s planning. We’ve hammered at the fact that, for instance, there has never been a feasibility study for the proposed music hall and that any projections about it are unfounded. I think you’re seeing the effects of that planning now. But the story’s been there all along; your reporters have been perfectly happy to accept VAPAF CEO Brad Armstrong’s assurances that all is well in response. So yeah, people who read Save Richmond know more about this project than people who read the T-D.
And sure, it’s important to have a place to let off steam, to have some fun with Richmond news as well, like when we suggested casting for a movie about Richmond politics (Paul Giamatti as Bill Pantele, for instance). I think we balance fun stuff with serious analysis nicely.
Unlike your publisher, for instance, neither Don nor I owns vast swaths of downtown real estate, nor do we want jobs with VAPAF. So we don’t have anything to gain by doing this–and since I’m a senior contributing writer at Spin, a regular contributor to the Washington Post and am working on a book that’ll be published by Da Capo/Perseus next year, the thrill of seeing my name in print has dulled a bit! We just care a whole lot about what happens downtown, and we think we provide a real public service by keeping an eye on the details. If your paper ever steps up to the plate, we’ll probably stop.
All of which makes valid points about the poential objectivity of bloggers over some news sources, the ability of a blog to scoop the MSM, and the overall aspect that blogs can be supplemental to the news and provide greater insight into what you may read in the paper.
Was Save Richmond purposefully omitted from the article because of their stance on blogging as journalism? The whole thing did seem to highlight the opinions of bloggers like myself, that blogs are not going to replace the media in any way but can still provide information you might not get elsewhere (though I may not have come across that way in my response). Maybe the goal was to just get the general opinion of the man on the street or your general bloggers. I don’t know. Because when you look ONLY at the political blogs, I don’t think you sell blogging to anyone. It seems intimidating when you’re coming into the medium and surrounded by the “big blogs” that take what they do seriously and view what they’re doing as a legitimate service. Blogs can be used for so much more than that, and maybe that’s what the RTD article was trying to highlight.