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MEMBER FOR 3 years 37 weeks


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Galis: With gun bill, lawmakers shift tough issues to constituents

@Jerry NeSmith: The serious answer is that the bill the House passed and sent to the Senate provides for the first of the two scenarios you're wondering about.

posted @ Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 11:07

The Editor's Desk: Omphaloskepsis and 'the future of journalism'

@grove600:What can I say? I think we're on different planets here.

posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 17:23

The Editor's Desk: Omphaloskepsis and 'the future of journalism'

@Digdug: You must not have been here the time Snodgrass told me to leave the snark to the anonymous commenters, since they're much better at it. Just doing as I'm told.

posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 17:19

The Editor's Desk: Omphaloskepsis and 'the future of journalism'

@grove600: It was but within this broader context:" If something like this is the right story about Patch 2.0, it seems that the Banner-Herald has a similar business reason to encourage local people to contribute edited content to the paper, since the most compelling reason anybody has to read the Banner-Herald is the local content. Everything else the paper publishes is just a journalistic commodity widely available elsewhere."

What is it you didn't understand about that? Or this?

"Since this scheme is a shot in the dark anyway, staff who’ll be combing through the daily flotsam and jetsam in search of a few pearls could better spend their time creating an environment at the paper supporting a major initiative to recruit more local opinion writers."

posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 15:35

The Editor's Desk: Omphaloskepsis and 'the future of journalism'

@Jim Thompson: Never mind the social media channels, Jim. Do some skepsis yourself on this:

"My advice to newspapers would start right here, with this column: find your particular, unique voice, and use it. We readers can find Weingarten's and Hiltzik's takes elsewhere; what's yours, specifically? Use your years of experience, your unique insights, to educate us in a way that's different from what we'd learn from Weingarten and Hiltzik."

Hog captured in a short paragraph what it took me 750+ words to say last Sunday.

posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 14:34

The Editor's Desk: Omphaloskepsis and 'the future of journalism'

@Jim Thompson: Jim, find out who @hogsupreme is and give him or her my slot on the editorial page. He or she has a better claim to it than I do.

posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 13:09

The Editor's Desk: Omphaloskepsis and 'the future of journalism'

@hogsupreme: The site won't let me give you the +s your comment deserves.

posted @ Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 10:44

News "We" Can Use!?

Be still my heart! Something from you that's carefully enough written for me to actually understand. I think that may be a first. What's even more extraordinary is that I have only a few quibbles with it, like your recommendation that the paper report on what's in the personnel files of our public employees. Seriously? Think we'd get anybody to work in local government under any such regime? On another minor point, I can't imagine any reporters for the Banner-Herald "making a name for themselves," no matter how self-promoting they are. This isn't a media market where people can, in the nature of the case, make names for themselves

posted @ Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 13:08

Amazon founder Bezos to buy Washington Post

@barryhollander:"The newspaper transactions remove well-loved, established publications from publicly traded parent companies which had to answer to shareholders who demanded good quarterly financial results."

This has to be part of the answer to "the full meaning." Taking the Post private gives it some breathing room to experiment with ways to operate in a changed media environment out from under the tyranny of the quarterlies. That's got to be a good thing.

posted @ Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 10:28

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

@grove600: Nothing complicated, really. I just think it would be better for the paper and the community if there were more local opinion writers in the paper, not on any given day--I understand the space constraints--but just in the mix. I think it's a loss, for example, that Garland's not with us anymore. I'd like to see that void filled and other people appearing as well. I thought I made the case for that in my column. I don't have to look for any "replacements" for myself. I'm not obligated to anybody to do this. If I want to give it up, finding a replacement won't be my problem.

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 22:04

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

@cicada: The Banner-Herald is in a demographically challenging location. On the one hand, it's nestled in the middle of just the sort of population you describe. But it's circulation area extends to the surrounding counties some portions of which are more like Elberton than like Athens-Clarke. So they have a tricky demographic line to walk. I get that. But I still think they could be doing better than they're doing. I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that my main point today didn't get much air time. What I'd really like to see is the paper spending less time futzing around with this commenting facility and more time really trying to recruit more local opinion writers for the editorial page. We have a wealth of people to draw on here and I just can't fathom why the Banner-Herald isn't doing more to leverage that asset.

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 15:24

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit


[quote][b]cicada[/b] - There might be more newspaper subscribers if more effort went into the newspaper's content and presentation.[/quote]

As I was just saying.... Seems like a no-brainer to me. But what do I know.

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 14:39

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

@bertisdowns: Michelle Malkin! OMG! Smile

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 14:37

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

@Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass: Actually, they're not edited. They're monitored for conformity (sort of) to the Terms of Use. Whole other thing.

Straight from the newspaper's mouth:"Comments are not edited and don't represent the views of the Athens Banner-Herald."

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 14:34

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

@bertisdowns: Don't put Ross down, Bert. He's a very interesting guy, a welcome relief from the loonies far to his right.

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 14:04

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

@grove600: No, I don't see a problem here. The local columnists, including me, have on occasion disagreed with one another in their columns, and I've always thought those "point-counterpoint" exchanges were very useful and productive. I think I do some of my best writing when I'm bouncing off the work of my colleagues. But what passes for disagreement out here is hardly anything I can work with. It's mostly just booing and hissing. I refer you to Trollkiller's comment above. Can't do much with that, though it may be therapeutic for the booers and hissers.

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 13:57

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

@davidxto: I'm relying on what's left of my memory here, so it's entirely possible that I missed the "challenging information" you've been treating us to. I'm sorry, I just don't remember it. What I do remember recently is an incoherent late night post that I could make no sense of, except that it sounded bitter and wounded. i have no idea why.

And I guess I have to say that my experience with all the people and agencies you say have been blowing you off has been different from yours. I don't always have an impact. For example, on the issue at hand, I'm having no impact at all. But sometimes, I've been able to connect productively with elected officials, the newspaper, etc. I can't hold it against them if my success rate is somewhat less than 100%, recognizing as I do that I'm not the center of their universe.

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 13:49

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

Just a few things and then I'll go back to the real newspaper. Haven't had my Ross Douthat fix for the day yet.

On the "it's just entertainment" disclaimer that's often trotted out in these discussions, if that's all it is, then it doesn't belong in the section of the paper devoted to edited content. It belongs in the comics or, as I've suggested a couple of times before, in Athens Talks.

However, if it's going to be in the section of the paper with the edited content, then it ought to be under the control of the people who put the edited content out, that is, the editors, opinion writers and reporters. That's the principle that's been adopted by the outlets profiled in the article I linked to earlier. You really ought to read that article if you want to see where all this might be headed.

As for the "one-sided soapbox" charge, another favorite canard in these parts, it depends on a misreading of what I said (like, what else is new?). If you'll notice (GroversMill, I'm looking at you), what I argued for is a major initiative by the paper to increase the offerings by local opinion writers. If, by some miracle, they were actually to do that, offering work by people from all across the ideological (and non-ideological) spectrum, there would be no "one-sided soapboxes." It's just that the contest of ideas would shift more to the level of people who're willing to take the time and do the work to put out copy appropriate for the editorial page instead of, as now, at the level of people who're more prone to say the first thing that comes into their heads, or wherever it comes into.

Then there's the "ignore-comments-grow-a-thicker-skin" advice. Thanks for that, but it's irrelevant. I can't ignore the comments totally because I know that not everybody who wanders into this loony bin knows that it's just for "entertainment." So even if I don't take the comments seriously, because I know that other unsuspecting readers might, I have to dive in here sometimes to dispel gross misreadings of my stuff from people with agendas (GroversMill, I'm still looking at you, or looking at you again). So it's got nothing to do with the thickness of my skin. It's just a matter of not wanting to have my stuff bent all out of shape after all the time I've put into working it up. In that respect, I'm no different from the other local columnists.

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 11:26

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

@GroversMill: This "leftist" smear is always good for a chuckle. As I told somebody else here once, you guys don't have a clue. Just to get you up to speed a little bit (for all the good it'll do), I never watch MSNBC, never read Huffington Post and The New Republic. Neither do I watch Fox News or listen to Limbaugh. I don't watch, read, or listen to any of those people because they're totally predictable. I know what they're going to say before they say it so I don't bother. However, I never miss a column by David Brooks, Michael Gerson or Ross Douthat, three Republicans. The reason I read them is that I know I can count on something penetrating and thoughtful, even when I disagree with it.

Carry on.

posted @ Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 10:07

Galis: Critiquing 'best comments' gambit

Commenters can save themselves the trouble of assailing me as an enemy of free speech (or a killjoy) by reading this-- helpfully posted by Jim Thompson in his blog a couple of days ago. I wrote the column before I read the linked article. But anyone who takes a couple of minutes to read it will see that what I'm advocating here is in line with what's apparently an emerging trend toward editors and writers exerting more control over online reader comments.

posted @ Saturday, August 3, 2013 - 19:25

We're not the only ones: Best online comments for Thursday

Thanks very much for the link, Jim. Having read the story, what struck me immediately is that the initiatives described in it bear little resemblance to the Banner-Herald's recently announced scheme, which promised to include, along with well-reasoned, worthwhile comments, a lot of junk that should never see the light of day.

One feature of the NY Times system that jumped out at me is this: "...the author of the piece gets to decide which comments show up, rather than having them posted automatically." That's certainly a move in the right direction, although I'm not sure how it works out in detail.

I was equally struck by the feature of Branch, which gives "editors or bloggers the ability to choose who takes part in a discussion--instead of the free-for-all that many comment sections seem to turn into."

I think Patch is fumbling toward something like this.

The final observation I'll make is that there's a cost to "dissolving" the barriers between journalists and "the people formerly known as the audience...." We got a look at the cost of that in the NY Times article about the Boston bombing I sent you a few days ago.

In general, it's misleading and disingenuous for you to suggest that what the Banner-Herald is up to is anything like the initiatives outlined in this article. Maybe someday. But not yet, not even close.

posted @ Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 15:39

The Editor's Desk: Elected officials and social media

Yeah, good luck with the "more pleasant and productive" part.

posted @ Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 20:16

Megathlin: Seeing guns in public spaces unsettling

Ms. Megathlin doesn't understand Immanuel Kant's universalization principle. Applied correctly, it doesn't give her the result she wants in this case. In her defense, she has a lot of company on Kant's moral philosophy.

posted @ Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 20:10

Athens officials set to lift water restrictions, tiered rate structure to remain unchanged

@Andy Herod: Thanks for the link!

posted @ Sunday, July 28, 2013 - 15:12

Tant: Journalists are authors of America's history

@geronimo509: The local columnists don't write their own captions. So Ed's not responsible for his. Sometimes my columns appear with captions that are only remotely related to what I wrote about. I'm sure Ed's had the same experience.

posted @ Sunday, July 28, 2013 - 14:23

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