Had an interesting month in the new media world and thought I’d share a couple of highlights with you.
First off, I got word from the Indy that as of the end of January for reasons of space and budget, they’re dropping the Exile on Jones Street print column. They’re not dropping state politics coverage, though, and promised to pick up some pieces from me as well as increase staff coverage.
Now that’s a bit of a hit to the wallet and I’m not sure what to do about it. The print column will still run in Greensboro’s Yes! Weekly and, sometimes, in Asheville’s Mountain Xpress, for the time being. And the EJS site will continue to roll, of course.
The second bit of news takes a little explanation. For a few months now, Mark Binker and I have been trying to catch up to get me credentialed for the upcoming session.
I’ve never had a set of official credentials before–never thought I needed them. You can learn a lot sitting in the galleries and I don’t really have a problem getting interviews or phone calls returned. But since going freelance–syndicated, if you will–I thought it might be a good idea. Binker, a columnist for the Greensboro News and Record, is in charge of the press corps this session. I like his stuff, he’s got a good blog called Capital Beat and is one of the other people putting up select audio of debates and hearings.
Last week, we arranged to meet up and do the credential thing. I was on my way to Raleigh on Thursday to do so when Mark caught me on my cell just before I got on to I-40. Several members of the corps, he said, objected to my being granted credentials because I had started posting on BlueNC, which the membership felt was an advocacy site. People who write for the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal have been turned down for the same reason.
Mark and I had a philosophical conversation about it and he later followed up in writing as per my request.
I can’t say I’m outraged. It won’t effect my life a heck of a lot. Nor am I unclear of the press corps’ thinking. But this does underline the strange world we’re in and the blurriness of the boundaries. The dispute is not with anything I’ve written–just where it has been posted and the fact that I personally choose to cross-post to BlueNC.
Here’s the twist: Around the first of the year, when Anglico and I talked about me becoming a front-pager at BlueNC, the idea was to enhance and expand the reporting being done on the site.
You can’t spin sideways these days without hearing of another newspaper editor embracing blogs or some blog-like innovation, but the legitimacy of journalism on blogs is still sketchy in the eyes of traditional media. The idea that blogs can be a reporter’s “friend” just hasn’t sunk in.
I’d rather keep this debate positive and take the press corps at their word that the issue is the advocacy of BlueNC for Democratic and progressive causes and not a backlash against the sometimes angry moments of the blogosphere.
So, for goodness sake, don’t flame Mark and remember to count to ten.