Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

March 24, 2004

Howell Raines: Buggy Whip Manufacturer

A week or so ago I wondered if the culture clash between bloggers and the more established media wasn't actually a symptom of a more specific struggle--between bloggers and editors.

One of the other surprising things I noticed was the depth of bitterness from some of the journalists attending towards journalism as a whole, and the glee with which they regarded the blogosphere's attacks on it--Biased BBC and the ongoing battles with the NYT were mentioned in particular. One or two mentioned attempts to set up reportorial blogs at their papers, attempts that were repeatedly cut off at the knees by the editors.

It made me wonder--are the ongoing clashes between blogs and media not so much a struggle against journalism as they are a struggle against editors desperate to keep their lofty positions in place? Most of the business world began shedding mid-level managers years ago. One of the few places where that type has survived has been in newspapers, for what are editors if not middle management?

It's been observed that there are two types of bloggers, linkers and thinkers.*

I think many people would assume that the friction points in the ongoing blog/media conflict arise between reporters and thinkers, using stories like the Indepundit's discovery of Cynthia McKinney's Arab financial donations on 9/11 as examples of failures that the media would presumably prefer not to be shouted from the rooftops of the Internet.

But when one looks at specific examples of what many bloggers (well, war bloggers, at least) would refer to as textbook examples of conflict, invariably there is an editor at the center of it; Howell Raines, Greg Dyke, even Gail Collins.

When it comes right down to it, the basic responsibility of an editor in a capitalistic media enterprise is to put interesting stories in front of the public--else the enterprise will eventually fail. Howell and Greg thought differently--in their opinion the basic responsibility of an editor was to lead the public by the nose to the truth as the editor saw it. Coincidentally or not, both men are now out of work.

What does a linker do, all day long? He or she puts interesting stories in front of the public--just as an editor is supposed to, and does so at a much quicker pace.

The real conflict between the blogosphere and the media not between the thinkers and reporters, but rather between the linkers and editors.

The world will always have a need for reporters, but in an age where millions of people are derogating to themselves the basic job of an editor, then doing that job not only faster, but for free, the professional editor has to be seen as an endangered species. The basic principles of capitalism would seem to demand it for any position other than copy editor, and that job can be done adequately by almost any spell-check program.

Buggy whip makers were dead the moment the automobile became available to the the masses, though they kicked around for a short while longer. Now that information itself is available to the the masses like never before, how long can it be before editors find themselves walking the same path?

*Here at Hraka we are a bastard version of the two. Hence we're not very good at either of them, being both shallow thinkers and infrequent linkers. Jack of all posts, master of none.

Posted by Bigwig at March 24, 2004 12:50 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

In reviewing Howell Raines' Atlantic article for, I found myself becoming angrier and angrier. Raines clearly had a high opinion of himself, a low opinion of his colleagues, and contempt for bloggers in general.

While the big issue of his editorship was the buildup to the war in Iraq, and its beginning, his article was focused on Jayson Blair and various demographics issues, perhaps because they were the proximate cause of his downfall.

But he seems to miss the obvious: that he was switching his focus away from the core focus of quality journalism--recognizing and covering the major stories of lasting importance--towards a focus on the transitory, the entertaining, and demographically correct.

There are main positive things about Raines, although his self portrait is demeaned by the mud he throws at others. Despite his strengths, his overall leadership style leaves much to be desired. His account makes clear that Sulzburger had reason to fire him despite his general reluctance to fire anyone.

Posted by: Rep. Mark B. Cohen at April 15, 2004 02:02 AM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?