Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Ah, Those Troubling Facts

So, Travis Factswrong takes on the daunting climb of Great Mount Bloggy in his most recent Sunday rant. We can only link to the page because Doc Searl's blog has a permalink available, I'm assuming, only because he is subscriber. Hit it Travis!
Where are the great S.B. blogs?
Voice of Travis Armstrong
(sheesh! what an ego! - cannon)

There's a debate in media circles of what to make of the trend of people keeping journals on Web sites. Are bloggers a breed of citizen journalists or just people with a computer and Internet access who rant day in and out?
There's a debate in blogging circles about what to make of editorial page editors who also publish their own opinion columns in print and on the Web. Are they actually journalists, or just hacks who rant -- and publish other rants -- day in and day out?

One of my former bosses drew blogger wrath when he pointed out that these writers aren't disinterested observers, but readers believe them because what's blogged conforms to the political points of view of those looking at the sites.

"It is an increasing burden," Dennis Ryerson, now editor of the Indianapolis Star, told Editor & Publisher magazine. "It hurts because now anyone can publish on the Web. You have people who are politically aligned raising questions about our standards, but there is no attention given to their standards."
One of my blogger friends pointed out that like us, so-called editors like Wendy McCaw and Travis Armstrong of the Santa Barbara News-Press have points of view that color their coverage and distort the news, often conforming to the political views of both their customers, advertisers, friends and social circles. "It is an increasing burden," said one well-connected wealthy editor. "It hurts because now anyone can publish their criticisms of a mainstream publication without having to go through our editorial page editors first to get their damn letters published! They ask irritating questions about our political affiliations and economic motivations, yet they it do it in their spare time, for free, just because they give a shit!"

I think it would be great if blogs became a challenge to journalists in Santa Barbara. It's all the better to have more people interested in public life in Santa Barbara and civilly debating ideas through varying outlets.
I think it would be great if blogs became a challenge to journalists in Santa Barbara, unless they actually challenged us, and that would be really, really bad.

But in scanning the Internet last week, I grew disappointed that the blog phenomena hasn't really taken off in Santa Barbara. The county Democratic Central Committee has one that could become an interesting read if some of the party higher-ups, rather than the hangers-on, begin contributing. Right now, it's mostly postings by the News-Press-obsessed Dan Ancona, the committee's media guy.
I mean, they haven't had a fresh post in a month, and one post on the main page was critical of my paper! Those crazy bastards! The OBSESSION!

Did I miss some great Santa Barbara blogs during my Web surf? The ones I've seen so far are like Fox News, all opinion and reacting but no reporting. They just tell people what they want to hear. E-mail the Web addresses of other blogs to me at Travis Armstrong is the editorial page editor of the News-Press.
Okay then. Travis, buddy, blogs are not meant to generate news, but sometimes they do. We, as stated here are media and political commentators and watchdogs -- and yes, that means watching you. It seems to me that we are far more "obsessed" with the SBN-P than Heeyah -- shit, they barely ever post anything. But guess what? You are the only daily in SB and that ain't gonna change, probably ever. If we are watching the media, we are watching you, surprise, surprise.

Travis, I don't really know if you found BlogaBarbara before you wrote that OpEd, but I do love this quote: "The ones I've seen so far are like Fox News, all opinion and reacting but no reporting." You mean, kinda like your column and editorials and commentary in the News-Opress? Are you riled that a li'l ol' blog, like ours or some other, with our tiny readership, is elbowing into your punditry turf? But this is where it really gets thick. After all that preaching and dismissing and FOX News comparing, Travis writes this, next item, same column:

It's amusing to watch the angst over the leak of Mayor Marty Blum's closed-session remarks about the police raises, as if leaks never have occurred before. City Hall tattletales are nothing new.

Remember the leak about closed-door talks on a possible Target Store on city land -- leaks meant to hurt De Facto Mayor Iya Falcone?
And he calls us, if indeed he meant us, reactionary and sensationalistic? As he proceeds to do so himself? Calling Acona a peon and Falcone the De-Facto Mayor, essentially spitting in the current Mayor's face? Nice.

It is notable that Travis never lets his readers know of what blogs he speaks (except for the yawning Dems) so said readers can decide for themselves. Not to frett! Travis has made up your mind! I must note that Sara sent him and e-mail, and he never addressed the only item at BlogaBarbara that actually is news: the fact -- yes, fact -- the SB News-Press is the only major Central Coastal daily that does not have access to it's online content for free. (NOTE: for more analysis on this, see Doc Searl's weblog).

We are not journalists, and our credentials aren't the issue -- yours are. Do I need to be more than a simple citizen to make a comment at a City Council meeting, or to state my opinion in a coffee shop? Like I'm their constituent, I am your customer. This is not Travis' great big sandbox and we are just visiting. Like I said, I guess he's just pissed that there is another kid on the block willing to take him on with an opinion or two or eight. Guess what Travis? I'm Cannon Presidio, and I'm ready and willing to be that kid. And by the way, thanks for the big spike in traffic here at BlogaBarbara!

Hey hey, we're just telling people what they wanna hear, right?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys rock!

4/13/2005 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys!
Funk Zone is alive this Saturday !

Let's celebrate Funk... or what is left of it!

4/19/2005 2:56 PM  

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