In today’s NewsBlues, (Subscription required) my friend Mike James writes of a blogging war of words between two meteorologists in Lexington, Kentucky. WLEX-18-NBC’s Bill Meck said some nasty things about WKYT’s radar “putting lives at risk,” and WKYT-27-CBS’s Chris Bailey responded by saying he wouldn’t stoop to Meck’s level. The story is pretty funny and fairly typical of the unbridled passion found in certain strident meteorologist camps, but that’s not why I’m writing about it.
This battle is taking place inside the stations’ WorldNow Websites on pages defined as “blogs.” They are not blogs, and I wish these stations — and many others that do likewise — could see the foolishness of creating journals buried inside the walls of their one-size-fits-all Websites. TV stations who do this fool themselves into thinking they’re into the new media world when all they’re really doing is producing columns in a closed environment. It is shortsighted and self-destructive, because it refuses to recognize reality.
A blog without comments and permanent entry links is an imposter. Moreover, it belies an ignorance about the citizens media phenomenon that is visible for all to see. Blogging is about a conversation, not a lecture, a column or a commentary. Call it a journal page. Call it a column. Call it whatever you wish, but don’t call it a blog.
In world where marketers can control the message, journals inside WorldNow (or other) platforms give stations the opportunity to tout their presence in the blogosphere. (“Hey look, we’re blogging!”) This may work with those unfamiliar with blogs and blogging, but it’s a turn-off to those who make up the bulk of citizens media. It’s an attempt by traditional media forms to assimilate blogs, and it won’t work. In fact, I believe it’ll backfire.
UPDATE: If you want to see a real blog within a media Website, look at John Robinson’s Editor’s Log from the Greensboro News & Record.