The New York Times has launched a new blog as part of its new Red Carpet entertainment awards site and says more are in the works. In that context, Deputy Managing Editor Jonathan Landman sent a memo to the staff about The New York Times approach to blogging. “A blog is nothing more than a piece of technology… We?ll use the technology our way.”
Here is the full New York Times memo on blogging:
The New York Times is launching several blogs as part of its new Red Carpet entertainment awards site and, in that context, Deputy Managing Editor Jonathan Landman sent a memo to the staff about The New York Times approach to blogging. “A blog is nothing more than a piece of technology… We?ll use the technology our way.”
Here is the full New York Times memo on blogging (via L.A. Observed):
To: The Staff
From: Jon Landman
December 7, 2005
Yesterday we launched a genuine, authentic, by-the-book New York Times blog. It?s Carpetbagger, by David Carr. It?s part of a new movie-awards-season web site called Red Carpet, which includes a bunch of things you won?t see in the newspaper, like weekly columns by Joyce Wadler and Caryn James. You?ll see a refer on today?s front page, which I boldly, if ignorantly, declare to be our first-ever page-1 refer to a web-only feature. At the very least, it?s our first-ever page 1 refer to a blog.
Within a few days, we?ll put up a real estate blog by Damon Darlin and others. More blogs are in the works. Even more are at the idea stage. We?ve come late to blogging, obviously, though we?ve put toes in the water on a number of occasions, as when our movie critics sent running commentary from last year?s Cannes film festival.
But our new blogs are more than running commentary. Look at Carr?s. It?s full of links to film publications and blogs and web sites. It encourages responses from readers and hopes to start a lively conversation. Nothing is more important to the future of our web ambitions than to engage our sophisticated readers. Blogs are one way to do it.
It?s worth spending a little time thinking about blogs, and about ourselves. Blogs make some newspaper people nuts; they?re partisan, the thinking goes, and unfair and mean-spirited and sloppy about facts. Newspapers make some bloggers nuts; they think we?re dull and slow and pompous and jealous guardians of unearned ?authority.?
It?s a pretty dopey argument. Indeed, some blogs are lousy. So are some newspapers. Some blogs reject journalism. Some practice it.
The point is, a blog is nothing more than a piece of technology. It allows people to compile thoughts, connect with others and interact quickly with readers. People can use it any way they want to. It has no inherent ethical or moral quality, though it does have its own special power.
We?ll use the technology our way. Our bloggers will have editors. They will observe our normal standards of fairness and care. They won?t float rumors or take journalistic shortcuts. Critics and opinion columnists can have opinion blogs; reporters can?t. (To quote Carr: ?If the Carpetbagger delved into plot or relative quality ? they didn?t turn me loose for my refined cinematic taste ? flying monkeys would come out of the ceiling here at headquarters and behead him.?) We?ll encourage readers to post their thoughts, but we?ll screen them first to make sure the conversation is civil. Some bloggers will accuse us of violating blogospheric standards of openness and spontaneity. That?s life in the big city.
We will use blogs to convey information, sometimes in conventional ways, sometimes not-so. Our notions of journalistic responsibility are perfectly compatible with spirited fun. Do we put David Carr online to be witless? Um, no. Actually, we think he?s pretty witty in the newspaper.
Blogging does impose obligations. Blogs have to be updated frequently. They have to be carefully tended. There are costs; David Carr and Damon Darlin will be spending time they could be using to write newspaper articles. Their bosses have decided that?s an advantageous tradeoff. I agree.
Thoughts? Bring ‘em on.