Friday, May 06, 2005

A challenge from the "Crabby old men" -- Home Guard of the Pajamahadeen

I have to admit to getting a kick out of a commenter's revelation that he'd mentioned "The Salt Lick" to Roanoke Times' blog list manager Jim Ellison and was told that the list already had enough "crabby old men." The last time that happened to me was when my wife was sleeping badly and one of her friends asked if the problem made her wake up "crabby."

"Oh no," she said, "I let him sleep."

Bloggers clearly make the mainstream media nervous. Bloggers brought down CBS anchorman Dan Rather. They revealed the anti-military lies of CNN executive
Eason Jordan and forced his resignation. In their unpaid spare time, birddogging and fact-checking the mainstream media, these Pajamahadeen have destroyed the dream that most journalists' carried into their profession -- themselves standing on a lofty pedestal, talking down to the public, shaping and selecting the news that educates the ignorant masses and discomforts the powerful and loathsome. The problem is that somewhere along the way, the journalists themselves became the arrogant and powerful who must be made uncomfortable. And they don't like being second-guessed.

Ever wonder why the Roanoke Times has no ombudsman?

If Jim Ellison and the Roanoke Times want to become "interactive" with the public they seem to hold in contempt, why don't they really become, well -- interactive. Start an online chatroom where readers of the Roanoke Times can engage the editorial and news staff directly. Assign certain times when particular individuals on the newspaper staff will answer questions and debate issues. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and many other top journalist aren't afraid to do this. Why not the Roanoke Times?

After all, you'll only get questions from a bunch of crabby old men.