Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Mr. Popular

I managed to get quoted in today's USA Today piece on political blogs by Kathy Kiely. Welcome to all the visitors coming here from there.

One of the things we discussed (but which didn't make it in) was the way blogs have opened up the work of publishing to journalists like myself -- largely because I no longer have to pitch a storyline to an editor. I'm my own editor. Mickey Kaus talks about the freedom this offers, particularly from deadlines, which is great -- though there are always days when blogging is a much more onerous task than others, so it doesn't necessarily feel a lot different.

For me, the big thing is the freedom to publish material that would never make print otherwise. That's not to say I couldn't use an editor -- every blogger could, and me especially. Nor does it mean I feel free to publish irresponsible material (though many bloggers do). It does mean I can write an extended essay on fascism and not worry about who I can sell it to -- because frankly, I don't think I could even sell it now. It's too thick, too unconventional, and it is all about the f-word, from which editors run shrieking, just like the other f-word.

But I'm very glad I wrote it, and a lot of other people seem to be as well.

The freedom to be completely unconventional -- and to follow your own journalistic instincts unfettered, which in today's corporate-journalism environment is a rarity -- is what makes blogging so great. I am also beginning to believe that blogs in fact could become a significant way of obtaining information that, on the Web at least, eclipses conventional journalism. The possibilities are there, at least.

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