Did Accident Rain On Pajamas Media’s Parade?
Update2: I see Ann Althouse has picked up on this post. Thanks, Ann.
That’s a very sharp and constructive criticism. What does Dan get for it? Jeff Goldstein shows up in the comments and goes after him until Dan actually rewrites his post to "correct the emphasis."
With absolutely no humility at all, lol I’d characterize my comments as sharp advice for any blogger interested in doing news. What led to the update was a fairly reasonable discussion with Jeff on blogging and I realized that the emphasis was wrong to make the point I wanted to make. Given blogging’s history, IMO, some of the criticism of PJM is getting to be a bit unfair.
Like many, I have real issues with aspects of PJM and how they continue to handle things. To date, I think some of the management is either over-whelmed with information, or unwilling to listen to different views. But I am trying to keep this from degenerating into a destructive flame fest, as my interest overall is the success of blogging as a new media – and not in the success or failure of any personalities or group involved.
As many can tell you, I don’t get bullied out here – and I don’t try to bully others. I’d rather see less flaming and more discussion all around. And that, and nothing else, led to my initial update below. I’m not a can’t we all get along kinda guy. But I don’t want to be anything more than an adolescent mud sling-er, either.
Note that I linked Jarvis’ criticism of the editorial meeting as overly harsh in my original entry and my update was consistent with the tone I wanted to convey. That doesn’t always happen out of the shoot with a blog entry. If I can allow myself room to breath and improve a post, or effort – I can be reasonable enough to extend the same courtesy to others. It didn’t appear I was doing that with the original and I wanted to make it clear that I was.
People should give some thought to what happened in that editorial meeting – it was open to public view. A fledgling business opened up something of a brain trust for all to see – even a potential competitor. I gather they did that to give at least some sense of openness and they took a risk in doing it. If they hadn’t, some folks would be screaming because they were too closed door. I am unwilling to try and paint anyone genuinely interested in the future of blogging in general into a corner where they feel they can’t make any move without being too harshly attacked. In my view, that’s simply unfair.
Update: Jeff G and I have been kicking this around in comments and a few emails and I think it is right to correct the emphasis. The real point of this post is not to take PJM to task for something which wasn’t done in this regard. It is really more about the future.
I expressed to Jeff my anticipation that one day PJM would, hopefully, be indexed by Google News. If that eventuates, in a case like the parade today – a PJM blogger would be able to fire off a post with background information, a report on the wind conditions, etc – which would be every bit as good and possibly even better than the first thing the AP might generate. Hitting the wires with posts like that can pull people to a site and hopefully draw them back to you as a source for news.
Internet news readers would most likely be Googling things like MGM Parade, Parade accident, etc. after events like this take place. When bloggers can capitalize on available information to do a timely, substantive post in certain cases, it does work to bring in readers. And that’s always the first step in keeping them.
Ann Althouse is taking PJM to task for their live blogging of MGM’s Thanksgiving Parade in which two spectators received minor injuries. There’s a subtext here which I believe can be sort of a lesson learned for all bloggers. The live blogging received a link from Instapundit here and it was likely viewed as a way to interject some fun into the site on a Holiday. I don’t find that to be such a bad thing. However, what did happen represented a very real opportunity lost, in my opinion.
As I live outside NYC, I can tell you that radio and television weather broadcasts were mentioning the danger from high winds for the parade over the last two days. Actually, look at this pre-parade report.
Balloons Will Fly in Thanksgiving Parade
NEW YORK – The giant balloons will fly in today’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There was some question that the winds would pose a safety problem with the balloons. But city officials, meeting with police and Macy’s representatives who are hosting the parade decided just before eight this morning that the winds were within safe speeds to fly the balloons.
Under current guidelines, the giant balloons are grounded when winds reach 23 miles per hour or gust stronger than 34 miles per hour.
The National Weather Service is predicting 15 to 20 mile per hour winds for this morning with gusts up to 30 mph.
PJM’ers are going to have accept that this post isn’t being offered as an overly harsh criticism of developments, or a suggestion that I or someone else might have done better, or been more prepared. A lesson learned isn’t about assigning blame, it’s about improving for the future based upon 20/20 hindsight.
With just a very little bit of research into what turned out to be an important subtext of this particular parade, PJM might have been in a position to put something rather substantive out within minutes of the accident, offering readers something they likely wouldn’t have gotten from the MSM on line for an hour.
News is rarely, if ever that which is expected – it’s the unexpected which makes headlines. If we as bloggers want to move into an increasingly significant role as reporters, we’re going to have to learn to be better prepared in certain cases.
That is a huge challenge and I am not going to fault PJM for its not having been met this time out. However, if the goal is to have more and more people tune into PJM, or simply blogs, over time, expectations are going to increase, not decrease for bloggers with PJM, as well as not. Going from a reactive mode to a proactive one is no simple feat. But in my opinion, it is something to think about for the future.
Finally, the url for the live blogging still contains the_horror_the_horror.php. The injuries weren’t that serious, this is not the end of the world – but the details which are going to need attention in PJM’s endeavor are many, and overtime they will most likely come to count.
Some may recall this NJ flood story from Oct. 14, wherein NBC’s Michele Kosinski was caught off guard when two men walked by in the knee deep water as she was paddling around in a canoe. Bloggers had a ball at her and NBC’s expense – as we grow, the tables are going to be turned. And we’re going to have to be ready for it when it happens, perhaps over a much more serious story.