Monday, February 7, 2005

The Columbus Leftist-Enquirer

Some of you who have read this little blog over the past couple of months (today is day 61 in the life of this blog) have figured out I'm located in the Columbus, Georgia area. The Chattahoochee Valley, as it's sometimes called. And the local daily paper is the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. I don't subscribe to the paper (I'll tell that story one day; suffice it to say, the paper won't come out of the story looking all that good), but I do read it on occasion. It leans a little to the left (surprise, surprise) and is sometimes called the "Leftist-Enquirer" because of it.

Today's edition contained an article that someone at work thought I'd like to know about. The headline on page D-1 is "Blogs carve journalistic niche." I don't link to the article because they didn't post it on their own Website. It's a filler piece by Frank Bajak of the Associated Press. I say filler piece, not because it is just fluff (it's not), but because the L-E used it to fill up space. There are blogs around here, but the paper did nothing to tie in any local angle. Lots of papers do local tie-ins. For instance, they might take an AP piece, then may add a paragraph or two near the bottom that ties it in to something local, then under the column put "Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane contriubuted to this piece" or something of the sort. But the local daily didn't even do that.

Perhaps they don't know there are any blogs around here. After all, it's quite difficult to go to Yahoo! and enter "Columbus GA blogs." The top return was a local blog. Many were defunct blogs. Some weren't blogs at all. And I don't show up until entry # 126 on that search. And please don't seach Google for "Columbus Georgia blogs." No really: DO NOT DO THAT SEARCH! But the point is, it looks like they didn't even try a local tie-in. That indicates to me that more people in Alabama know about this blog than the local paper.

Am I jealous? Could it be I simply want my name and picture in the paper? Hey, all I put here of my name is "basil" and a 44-year old picture of me. Besides, I've been in the paper before. And not about blogs or computers or anything like that. No, it seems like they took a piece from the AP, didn't understand it, and put it above the hard-hitting piece "Buying a teenager's first car." [no link available]

And, if they had wanted to do a local tie-in, they certainly didn't have to speak to me. They could have spoken to any other blogger, active or inactive. (Remember the Yahoo! search?) How hard is it to place a phone call or drop an e-mail? Obviously harder than doing nothing. And, maybe that's the best way to handle something you don't understand: ignore it. I suspect the only reason they published the blog article was that's what the article was about. Had it been about using computers to track squirrels, they'd have published that instead.

A little harsh, you ask? Well, if you search today's Ledger-Enquirer Website for the word "blog" you get an article about last night's Super Bowl, and two articles from the Miami Herald. Things like this give ammo to those who dislike, or like to dislike, the local paper. And there's nothing in the local paper I like at all.

Now excuse me while I go read Dilbert.

6 comments:

  1. Heh. "Columbus Georgia blogs."

    No worries. You're famous worldwide, even if the local mullet-wrapper is behind the times. I suggest listing with al.com's list of Bama bloggers.

    A few weeks ago, a Mobile free independent paper wrote about local blogs, but only listed two (boring, very straight-faced, written by reporters) blogs--they completely missed Spacemonkey and me! I wrote them a letter and (sweetly) scolded the writer. He wrote back and was quite nice about it, saying he might write about us at a later date. Of course I never read the thing, so I'll never know. ;-)

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  2. Having worked in news (not publishing, but radio) I understand they have a different mindset. Of course, every business has a different mindset, so it's not really their fault.

    I hope you can tell from my post that, like you, I'm not looking for an article in the paper. It's just that mindset that it's not worthy of any local tie-in that is frustrating. If it's not of local interest, don't publish the thing. If it is, tie it in, even if it's another reporters blog.

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  3. Beth: didn't know that folks in Alabama covered their out-dated 'do with the local newspaper....but glad to hear that they're hiding it. :)

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  4. yeah, it's nuts to think that anyone at the newspaper would read a blog.

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  5. yeah, it's nuts to think that anyone at the newspaper would read a blog.

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