Editorial Blogging

EDITORIAL BLOGGING….Here’s an interesting thing: the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News has started a blog, and today they went public with it. This really opens up the editorial-writing process to the public, so you can see what kinds of discussion go on between the ed board members before (and after) editorials are published.

Editorial page editor Keven Ann Willey explains here:

There aren’t many ? if any ? editorial boards in the country blogging yet. It’s a delicate thing, blogging our opinions in ways we hope will help clarify and enhance ? not confuse and degrade ? what we do and why we do it. The entries on the blog represent the individual views of board members, for example, not necessarily the board’s collaborative view. But it’s those individual views that are so important to shaping the collaborative view that you read on the editorial page of the newspaper each day.

This should indeed be an interesting experiment. Transparency is sort of a double-edged sword when it comes to editorial writing, and this could easily come to grief ? the same way that seeing a sausage made can make a vegetarian out of you. I have a feeling the result might very well be more outrage over the paper’s editorial positions as readers peruse the blog and confirm in their own minds all the horrible biases that their fevered imaginations could only suspect before. Familiarity breeds contempt, and all that.

My (tentative) prediction: groups who oppose the Morning News’ positions will start banging away at them, using comments from the blog as proof of editorial perfidy and moral unclarity. Hastily dashed off blog posts will come back to haunt them, and soon the Morning News will begin a policy that all blog posts have to go through an editor before they are published. The spontaneity of the blog will die, and eventually, in a flurry of public recriminations and backbiting, the blog itself will die too.

Then again, maybe not! Scenario B is that this is the wave of the future, and by next year no one will take an editorial page seriously unless it also runs a feisty and combative blog that takes on all comers and wears its biases proudly. After all, wouldn’t you like to see the New York Times try something like this?

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