Wednesday, April 12, 2006

WaPo Wants Bloggers!

In case you didn't already hear about it: is looking for bloggers...
The paper’s ombudsman, Deborah Howell, has informed RAW STORY that Jim Brady, executive editor of, is looking for a liberal blogger, along with a conservative one, to replace Ben Domenech who resigned after only three days of blogging, when his earlier writings were discovered by mostly liberal bloggers to be racially insensitive and – in multiple cases – plagiarized.

The paper doesn’t plan on making any formal announcement, but the news should be welcome to many critics on the left who felt that it was unfair to hire just a conservative blogger in the first place.
(well done Ron Brynaert!)

It's kinda cool that they're actually going to try it again...and that they will try a different strategy for recruiting bloggers to fill these positions (read further in the article for this info). WaPo will look at bylines and background...

I've noticed, even in my own modern-age blogging career, that there are new paradigms for recruiters and "job hunters" (how I hate that term) as there are new emerging paradigms in media and business. Media outlets and p/r firms, when looking for bloggers, are going to have to do a lot more than post an ad or go with the popular/well-connected person: finding the types and kinds of people a media outlet or a business might actually *want* as a blogger is going to take a more personal approach.

In other words, y'all are gonna have to get to know our friends and part of our communities. Relying on resumes and stilted interviews loaded with baited gotcha questions meant to turn over all sorts of personal info y'all can't ask us about aren't going to work any more, if they ever did for anything other than menial, no-thinking-required jobs. If y'all want good bloggers, y'all might have to engage us in personal conversation rather than expect us to dazzle you with perfectly spun b.s.

Gary Goldhammer in Journalism Hope has a few predictions of how this might play out in newspapers overall:
If every citizen is a reporter, then every reporter is a freelancer, able to speak his or her mind in multiple formats directly to and with the audience. Reporters don’t work for organizations anymore – they work for us. . .In this new model, reporters, not newspapers or networks, are the brands. If they left we would follow. Our relationship and trust network involves them, not the organization for which they work. They are the brands that matter.

So, another tip for Jim Brady and WaPo--check the blogger's brand. Is he or she trusted, and not just a pretty face surfing the pop culture zeitgeist? Do they know and follow the basics of good journalism and have they proved this with their blogs? Do they have some insight into issues, and not just a good command of verbal vitriol?

It won't be easy, and it will require that media orgs not just think outside the box, but, possibly, way outside their top-down comfort zone.

Brave New World indeed!

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