Sunday, January 11, 2004

Adopt a Journalist

There's an idea I put out there in the middle of the holidays. A bunch of people subsequently emailed me, etc..., and I pretty much ignored them. Not because I was being rude but because I was fairly busy and most importantly as I said in the original post I Don't Want To Organize It.

But, look, here's the idea - start a blog, pick a journalist, and follow them. Don't just follow them day to day, but be in depth about it. Archive all of their work, look for inconsistencies across their own writing. It doesn't have to be all nasty criticism. Criticism can be both good and bad - it's important to remember that.

Anyway, some had emailed me about setting up a centralized database/website/etc... I tend to think such a top down approach is a bad idea, at least at first. First we need volunteers - and the best way to do it is just start doing it. Once you've got it going, email me and other bloggers once you have some interesting stuff up. Once people seem to be working it consistently, I'll set up a special section in the blogroll and will encourage others to do the same. If there's duplication of effort - great! Eventually blogs can merge or whatever, it isn't a problem.

As for journalists - mostly what I'm talking about are people covering the '04 campaign, and mostly what I'm talking about are straight journalists and not the pundits. The pundits get plenty of attention - it's fun, but frankly we all overestimate their influence. One lowly scale AP reporter probably has a lot more influence than William Safire.

Jay Rosen of NYU has been following this idea. But, my plea is - Just Do It! I'm happy to support it, but I can't organize it.