Technologist and the founder of blogging, Dave Winer, blogged this week that if he were the CEO of The New York Times he would start a blog hosting service, with Times branding.
People would know, per Winer, that this is blog space, not editorial space. Blogs would be sources, from which the Times editorial people would be encouraged to quote.
Winer would also recruit people whose ideas were valuable enough to be otherwise quoted in the Times to begin to blog – or at least offer them a blog.
There would be a central place for the aggregation of all the blog posts with the ability to subscribe to individual blogs, all under reader control.
Winer’s description of a New York Times blog hosting service sounds a lot like LexBlog and where we are going.
We have the service – more expansive than hosting alone. Had it for 15 years.
The last year plus we begin to aggregate and curate the blog posts coming from now over 20,000 legal bloggers.
With Bob Ambrogi, as Editor-in-Chief and Melissa Lin, as Associate editor, on board we’re know working on how we frame the reporting of legal news and commentary – with these bloggers being the sources, I suppose.
Though I have always had a problem with Winer’s reference to bloggers being the source.
No question bloggers are the boots on the ground, often with expertise and passion on what they’re covering. But they feel like more than someone to just quote. They are the reporter, the best and, often, the only source – they are the reporter, not a source to be quoted by a reporter or editor.
When Winer was reporting/blogging from a national political convention almost 15 years ago, I didn’t need an edotorial person to get me his stories or to quote them, I read them direct.
Perhaps others needed Winer to be sourced for his story to get out. And perhaps legal bloggers need to be sourced for their stories to get out.
Semantics aside, a blogging service, with an aggregation and curation component, is definitely needed today to get us the reporting we need on any subject. Reporting is not there otherwise.
In Winer’s case, to get us the news that a democracy needs to function. In the case of a LexBlog hosted legal blogging platform and network, for legal news, information and commentary to get out there to both advance the law and make the law more accessible.
I’ve long looked at LexBlog as empowering legal journalists around the world. I like Winer’s thinking here, even if we’re not in total alignment.