What exactly do people want in blogs?

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Sunday February 25, 2007.

I get really tired of reading some of the comments about Ray Hagar’s Inside Nevada Politics. For starters, there’s this one. We have a comment posted on another blog telling us basically that Ray isn’t fit to write about politics in Nevada because he asked a candidate what he thought about a law that only Nevada has.

This is a candidate that wants to win Nevada’s caucus to presumably be considered a serious contender for his party’s nomination. The candidate pulls a “I can’t believe you just did that to me” and leaves the press conference. Blaming the reporter is so talk radio. He asked a legitimate question that is very specific to Nevada law. Imagine, for instance, if Nevada had completely legalized, oh, marijuana or something. That would come up. Why shouldn’t legalized prostitution?

The fact that Ray told us about the incident in the blog is even better. It’s the kind of thing that goes on in these exclusive press conferences that the rest of us never get a chance to experience. I think it’s why a reporter should blog at all. They should not blog because it gives them a chance to write a story a bit earlier than the paper’s deadline, effectively scooping themselves. They need to give all of us insight on what they saw and not have it pass through editors. Ray’s personal experiences and feelings are what will make that blog better than any others. He’s been through stuff in the political world that most of us will never experience. Why shouldn’t he be telling us about it?

Ray also takes heat pretty regularly from Nevada Up North. Consider this quote, “It has been a while since Inside Nevada Politics was worth linking to…” from a post about Jim Gibbons being booed. It sums up a general attitude over there that I’m not willing to comb the archives to pull out every link (no search function that I can find). It seems that it might only be possible to be linked by obscure partisan hacks if you say something that fits directly in with their “philosophy.”

If you think about it, there is a tremendous double standard when dealing with Ray Hagar and other local and statewide blogs. Ray is lambasted if he doesn’t pretty much just report, but blogs like the Las Vegas Gleaner and Reno and Its Discontents are heralded for containing pretty much nothing but opinion and the occasional news item.

So which is it? The two most popular blogs in the state are doing essentially the same thing Ray has been trying to do, but are loved for it, while Ray is killed for it. In the interest of understanding where the information we’re all getting from media organizations is coming from, what Ray is doing is great. We are getting to know him and what he thinks of things. We’re not just getting an attempt at “unbiased” and “objective” journalism, which is pretty much impossible to find (at least, according to the conversation here). I applaud it and think that the more of those types of posts we get from Ray, the more we’ll really know about candidates and lawmakers. Unless you have an interest in not getting more pertinent information about someone out, you should applaud this too.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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