By Dave Stancliff
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a hybrid between a traditional journalist and blogger.
The traditional part of me, the one that was a newspaper editor and publisher, is concerned about the fate of newspapers.
The blogger part of me says that it doesn’t matter if you lose the dead wood if you can still communicate with people. Reaching out to readers, after all, has always been the point of journalism.
The perception of bloggers being a bunch of nerds and nuts has long given way to legitimacy that called for them to be represented during the recent presidential election. Both parties made sure to save press room for the blogger community.
In the last seven months I’ve started a blog and moved my opinion column from the
Eureka Reporter to The Time-Standard. In both cases I’ve been astounded (and gratified) at the readership for my column.
The Times-Standard ran the results for their Online readership for 2008 recently. My column - “Judge Says Feds Violated 10th Amendment by Subverting state Marijuana Laws” - was #1 in their Top Ten.(see column on right under Times-Standard for link.)
My other column to crack that Top Ten was - “America in Crisis: Are We Preparing For Martial Law?” - came in 5th on the list.(See column on right under Times-Standard for link)
Both went viral to get there. That means over a million readers viewed each column. I’m humbled by the interest shown.
I’m also amused at Times-Standard editor James Faulk, who wrote the short article about the newspaper’s Top Ten online stories for 2008. He asked in the article, “What does this list mean? Nothing.” he assured the reader.
Well gee...doesn’t it count for something if over a million people view your article? What other yardstick can an editor use in this cyber age for such accuracy in tracking readership? Those little hits, every time someone views the article, add up to money in online advertising.
So it seems to me the list has some value. I guess it depends on how you look at it. My overall goal to attract readers to my newspaper column appears to be doing alright, and my overall goal to have fun with my blog has been achieved.
It hasn’t been a year yet since I started the blog, but it is turning out to be a blast! I’ve decided not to advertise on my blog, which eliminates any concerns for content. I can continue to say what I damn well please this way!
Reader feedback really gets me reeved up! I just love that interaction. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad a long time ago (1981 was my first editorship with a newspaper - the Desert Trail in 29 Palms, California).
I had plenty of up close and personal visitors for years In the old days, reader feedback often went beyond a letter-to-the-editor and often meant a visit to my office when I use to work full time. They weren’t always pleasant visits, but I managed to remain professional and not let them irritate me.
Now my critics are online and it’s easier to maintain a calm response with that barrier.
As It Stands, my guess is that there are more “hybrids” out there going through the transition from traditional to the new cyber age of communicating.