Here is the entire email exchange beginning with the questions from Peter Thompson. He didn’t take things out of context. But there are a few of my answers that were shortened and might have left out things Myrna couldn’t have defamed me over. I removed some of Peter’s comments because it’s not up to me to pass along what his opinions are.
I dig your site. How long have you been podcasting?
I’m interested in your take on that Kinsley article and your take on why blogging isn’t supported in Reno. I realize your politics differ from Myrna’s and also realize how much time both of you must spend on blogging for very little reward. Why do you do it? How much time do you spend per day average? I think I’ve grown to see the Reno blogging community as a kind of “frontier” mentality, wherein most online communities engage in blood feuds and politics, there seems to be a sense of cooperation among many Reno bloggers, politics aside. Am I right? What’s missing from Reno blogging? What would happen if Myrna tok down her site and gave up? Would that throw us off the electronic snark map?
Feel free to tell me I’m wrong or say whatever you want heard. This article will be an open forum.
Tue, Oct 10, 2006 at 9:10 AM
I’ve been podcasting for about a year and a half. I really picked it up for awhile and did one each week. All it really ever had going was me talking for 15-20 minutes. I wanted to do interviews and tried a few times to set them up but it takes a lot of time. When you have a job and family it’s damn near impossible to do those things. But I did get to do an interview with Bobzien and that was great. I wish I could do more, but I have since pretty much stopped podcasting altogether because I’m in school and all my time goes to that.
The Kinsley article really caught my attention because of a couple of things. First, he’s Michael Kinsley, the guy who tried a wiki at the LA Times and basically lost his job over it. Second, he is a traditional news guy and was talking about blogs. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time reading about blogging and where people think it’s going. Kinsley basically made the point that blogs are lame and nobody cares about them. My immediate reaction was that he set up a strawman to beat on by claiming that bloggers are just guys hanging out in pajamas screaming their take to the world. Hardly. Bloggers all over the place are doing reporting work. Even locally, a mini political scandal was uncovered and investigated by bloggers after a plea by readers for the “real reporters” at the RGJ to do something. They didn’t, we did. Let Kinsley chew on that for a little bit.
I blog because I want to do something. I started blogging over 5 years ago and have evolved a lot in that time. It was pretty lame at first and I asked myself many times what the hell I was up to. Now, I feel like I’m gaining an understanding about the purpose of blogging, the direction it’s heading, and the importance it will have in the future. I don’t care about Reno being on any map of blogging. I just want Reno to have a place to discuss its own issues, have a little fun, and gather. I’m not concerned at all if I get picked up and linked by Instapundit or DailyKos. Why should they care about us here? They’re national sites that discuss national issues. If a Reno issue goes big time, then sure, those guys should defer to us, because we know the local stuff better, but we shouldn’t be trying to compete with them. What does that do for Reno?
As far as Reno being about blood feuds, politics, and cooperation, I don’t know. I think I’m the guy who has pissed off all the other bloggers to this point. Some don’t even respond to me. I think it’s because I decided to become a crusader for honest discourse in every discussion. I’ve written diatribes about blind pastisanship and people take offense to that. I won’t deny having a political bias, but I don’t think that matters. Who am I to tell you how to think? I think Reno and the rest of the world would be better off if everyone would just shut up and think about the possibility that the other side is right. Just once. But too many bloggers are still in what I refer to as the infancy stage of expression and they have to scream their takes louder than everyone else. I’ve been accused of being an operative for Dina Titus and Jim Gibbons by people. I wouldn’t work for either of them. But it speaks a bit to how I approach things. I want to clean my own house first. By that I mean that my side of an argument better be honest and forthright. Don’t be claiming to speak for me and not have a good argument. So I go on sites and try to debate on the facts. I also am critical of local bloggers who say they’re doing one thing but fail to do it in my eyes. The thing is, I’m desperate for certain things in local websites. If someone says they’ll do it and they don’t, I express my displeasure.
If Myrna took her site down today, there would be a void. She has certainly brought people out of their holes and into the online world. But I’m also not sure if those people contribute anywhere but over there, so it’s not like the community has grown because of it. HER community has grown, which I’m sure is fine with her. I think the idea is to build a community where more people from the offline world take part. But if you start a site and tell your friends and they participate in your site, you’re really just transferring the offline world to the online world. If you start a site and your friends come in there and more people find it and then your friends start visiting and partiipating on other sites and the whoe thing grows, that’s building an online community. I see that starting in Reno right now, but I’m unsure if the people doing it know why they’re doing it. The biggest problem I see is that everyone wants to be an expert with their information or opinion and tell the rest of the world what they think. I’m learning now that newspapers have been using that model forever, and people can do better. People are starting their own sites to be mini newspapers. I’m against that. I want my readers to tell me things about the things I know and when we put them together we’re all better off for it. The mindset of the public has to change for that to happen, and until everyone realizes that’s really what they want, we’ll be stuck in a rut.
Let me know if you have any other questions. I hope this helps. Also, let me know when I can expect to see the story.
visit me or regret it the rest of your life
Tue, Oct 10, 2006 at 11:11 AM
I think it will be the cover on the Nov. 2 RNR. You raise some great, very salient points. What was the mini-political scandal Reno bloggers uncovered? ... You go to UNR? Grad or regular? How old are you?
Tue, Oct 10, 2006 at 11:37 AM
To: Peter Thompson
I’m 31 and a grad student in Interactive journalsm. The mini scandal was about a blogger called the Cobb Gobbler. When the site started it was registered in the name of Mike Dillon, who was a primary opponent of Ty Cobb (the Cobb Gobbler’s focus). I and another now blogger (The Anon Guy at dulardmush.blogspot.com) investigated the site’s registration, talked with Dillon, etc. I also investigated a claim of breaking the law by Cobb and found out the Cobb Gobbler was wrong and/or lying himself. I think since then the blog has become totally irrelevant and the guy almost dropped off the map. The charge he raised was serious against Cobb, but the RGJ didn’t address it. I did and found the charge to be baseless. Read about it here.
I appreciate you saying the points are good. I don’t think I’m making many friends, but I also think what we’re doing is very important and we need to keep at it. I just wish everyone else would get on the same side as me because dammit, I think I’m right.
Tue, Oct 10, 2006 at 11:59 AM
History will be on your side. ...
Oh, well. Thanks for all yr help.
As I reread this exchange, I can’t help but think Myrna was way off by choosing to single me out. Or it could be that I’m the only one saying it. Either way, it needs to be said that I am hardly against any other bloggers doing their thing. I am of the opinion, however, that bloggers who choose to do certain things are not furthering the importance of blogging. That’s what I stand for. Period.