Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Open Letter to Craig Westover


This started out as a personal e-mail. But what the heck. I'm not hiding anything, and neither are you. And my thoughts here might apply to others in similar circumstance.

I took a shot at modifying the article you helped me craft for the Pioneer Press so it would suit the Editor and Publisher. I agree with you that, with only minor modifications, the article I wrote appropriately answers questions raised in their article: Beware of the Blog . In fact, this being my own place, allow me to gush for a moment about what a perfect illustration your newspaper columns/blogging have provided about the potential of blogs to enhance and enrich the old media - something the Editor and Publisher article directly asked about. Your example was the inspiration that lead to the initial post you encouraged me to modify for traditional publication in the first place.

But I have a problem, Craig. The problem is that I'm not all that fond of banging my head against the old media wall. I respect their role, and their audience. But I'm not really smitten by their media vision or future importance. And, unlike them, I don't do this for profit. I do it for a combination of fun and (occasionally) because I find something too important not to mention. And does either of them really apply in this case?

Craig, I very much appreciate your own MSM endeavors. I think they're important, meaningful, and more than a little inspirational. But I'm not sure my own article carries that same importance, even if published.

Looking at it from an MSM perspective it seems wonkish, elitist, and kind of punk-thinks-he-knows-everything. You and I both know that those are emotional reactions to the subject matter rather than the presentation, but I don't think Pioneer Press Editor Art Coulson understood that. And I gather you consider him head-and-shoulders above the average in his profession.

So I'm torn. Work hard on this old piece - one that I truly believe in, incidentally - or put it aside and just move forward?

To be honest the only thing making this choice difficult for me is the work you put into providing feedback and editorial input on this. You're a better and more seasoned writer than me, and the experience of bouncing drafts off you is one I gained a lot from personally. On that basis alone, a word from you would settle the matter, and I'd go after the Editor and Publisher.

But at what point do we stop trying to persuade the legacy media about the right way to engage blogs, and instead simply show them by our example? Your own blog is hosted on Blogspot, instead of the Pioneer Press' own website. Doesn't that say something about where the attention and focus belongs at the moment?


Blogger Flash said...

While you wait to hear from Craig, I say PUSH ON!

It is about tweaking your writing to the other medium and garnering experience in the difference between the two and what they would look for and expect.

The day will come where you will embrace an issue and want so desperately to submit an article. You would look back on the process you're going through now as crucial in drafting an appropriate article, since you will already have a well rounded understanding of the process.

But that's just me . . .


7:28 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Leave it to a teacher to talk some common sense about hard work today leading to future opportunities.

Yes, I suppose I was taking a rather short-sighted view. As I have told Craig repeatedly, the writing exercise itself is valuable. So I probably will have a go of it after all.

10:57 AM  

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