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Community Comment

Posts tagged: blogs

About Community Comment…

Good morning, Netizens…


Earlier this week Jeanie of Spokane and myself were invited to a discussion panel chaired by the Spokesman-Review's Rebecca Nappi and attended by a number of other SR staff members and bloggers. Also present and accounted for were SR reporter and blogger Dave Oliveria by telephone, who gave everyone a lot of good ideas how to improve or make blogs more vibrant than they already are. This panel, which met at the SR's news room, discussed both our existing blogs and newcomers who either are or may become viable in the coming months.


Being only slightly diplomatic about it, I waited with bated breath to see whether any other bloggers would seize the moment to discuss the future of our tenacious hold on what I have referred to as “the new journalism”, and since I heard nothing, I am going to pick up the thread and comment about Community Comment and how Jeanie and I are involved with it. Of course, as always is the case, Jeanie may have opinions of her own and I encourage her to speak her mind on what she brought away from our panel meeting.


One of the secrets to success in running a successful blog, according to Oliveria, is perhaps the most difficult part of it, that being to post something at least once each day. That implies to me that I must remain as I have done for decades, a dedicated “news head”, reading a large number of news sources each day and commenting upon the news stories I perceive as meaningful or important. That's a pretty big universe we are talking about here. Most of the time I can always find something in the morning news that speaks to me and makes me sit up in my chair, but then there are the days when, either because there is nothing truly exasperating in the news to capture my interest or ire or because I simply have run out of disposable time, I have little to nothing to say. That is when I fall back on my plan B, that being the venerable A Word A Day which always seems to have interesting words which sometimes generate comments.


The other part is knowing a lot of people, their lives and business, any of whom often end up commenting in or being discussed. At Community Comment we seem to have a lightning rod which attracts all kinds of esoteric people to our doorways, while maintaining the strictest guidelines of news journalism about what we say as bloggers. The latter is sometimes the most difficult decisions one has to make each day.


There were many other things I brought away from the panel meeting, and as I have said in the recent past, I believe there is a valid and important purpose for similar meetings between journalists and bloggers on a frequent basis. Those of us who survive down in the trenches, away from the hue and cry of the news room, can gain a lot of insight into how to make things better, to grow our blog over time and to encourage others to join our little piece of heaven. I especially want to thank Becky for inviting us to the panel and a special thanks to Dave Oliveria for all the good ideas he shared with everyone. Of course, I would be remiss in giving thanks if I forgot my liege and partner-in-crime, JeanieSpokane, who brings a very special insight into our discussions.


My undying thanks to all.



The modern party line…

Good morning, Netizens…

Early in my years and perhaps yours we had one of the greatest sources of misinformation and gossip known to man, commonly known as “the party line” telephone. For the most part my experience with the party line consisted of a wall-mounted crank telephone where you had to call the operator with a good crank before you could place a phone call. Unfortunately, you could also listen in to any other members of your party line while they were calling someone else. This made for a particularly good source of information and juicy gossip.

Until recent years I hadn’t seen anything that would rival the old party-line telephones for ease of use and abuse. If you heard the phone ring someone else’s ring (ours was two shorts and a long ring) wait a few minutes and then making certain to cover up the mouthpiece to prevent background noise from letting the other party know you were there, simply pick up the phone and listen in.

The only big difference between then and modern-day telephones was there was no dial; all calls were routed through the operator in town. Everyone knew where the operator’s office was because she lived on the main drag, and that was where you paid your phone bill. She was also, in some cases, a reliable source of self-censored gossip about life back then. If your wife/daughter had a legitimate baby, it’s gender and weight were spread via word-of-mouth as soon as someone called from the hospital. If the baby was born out of wedlock, although it might take a bit longer for word to get around, all it took was a phone call and everyone in your party line quietly spread the word. Many a young woman’s life was put on emotional rocks of life because of the party line.

In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon we take a modern-day look at the latest permutation of the party line carried forward into our generation.

The premise today is if we read it on the Internet, regardless of the veracity of its source, it must be accurate because it came from the Internet. We have made the transition from the old party line to the newfangled gadgets; the only difference is in many cases nobody knows the source of information nor, in some cases, its accuracy, but we are encouraged to spread the word nonetheless, because by God we can.

As much as Jeanie and I have the temerity to have put our names on this Blog, still we both make strenuous efforts to keep what we say is accurate. Not all Blogs, unfortunately, seem to perform this self-censorship. This morning David Horsey seems to have hit the nail squarely on the head.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane.

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