Friday, December 23, 2005

It's Official! Steve Hoffman is Ignoring the Blogosphere.

I noted ABJ editorialist Steve Hoffman's blog and his curious obstinancy against acknowledging that anyone else anywhere on the planet is also blogging. Well, if there was any doubt that his project would remain sealed off from the blogosphere, its over as of this week.

The two big stories on the blogs this week were the catastrophic ODP election and the did-he-or-didn't-he Sherrod Brown encounter with Tim Russo and Pounder. Hoffman's treatment of each is instructive.

Four bloggers gave first person accounts of the ODP fiasco; Tim Russo -- who liveblogged it -- Palehorse from Psychobilly Democrat, BlueCollarBaby at Live from Dayton and Pounder at Buckeye Senate Blog, who also posted audio. Hoffman's sources for his story on it? Newspapers. Not people who were there. Not activist Democrats blogging their disgust at the travesty. Not even a link to a site with audio of the actual event. Sad.

His discussion of the Sherrod Brown controversy is even more striking -- he doesn't have one. His other big story this week is Jerry Springer not running for Governor. Thanks for that. At last, a newspaper writes a story on the house that didn't catch fire. Meanwhile, the liberal blogosphere is buzzing like mad on the week before Christmas and Hoffman doesn't mention it.

Is anyone reading? Hoffman's comment fields are even quieter than mine. We know only that John Ryan reads. I stop by only for the sport of seeing how far Hoffman will go to pretend we don't exist. The utter dispensibility of Hoffman's blog is so patent it has cleared common ground between this blog and The Boring Made Dull. No mean feat, that.

A Real Live Journalist may posit that Steve is just being cautious about his sources. Some guy just banging on his computer can't be fact-checked, linking may be an endorsement of content, deep pockets for a libel action, blah blah blah. That's why I find the failure to blog to BSB's audio post particularly damning. What ever you think about Pounder -- myself, not much -- we're talking about primary source material. The decision not to point a reader to it betrays a mind mired in old media thinking.

The BJ is apparently trudging though a deep economic swamp. Can a blog save a newspaper? Generally speaking, I don't know. I'm confident this one won't save this paper.