THE BLIND PEWS: The Top 10 Most Purblind Papers

Blind Pew from It’s time to be name names.

Too many big, ordinarily smart newspapers still refuse to involve high-quality local bloggers and vloggers on their websites and in the pages of their paper in any significant way beyond a lame, well-hidden, token local blogger index page (if that).

Now the thieves are at the door, about to make off with the family jewels (audience and advertising) and newspapers are leaving the doors unlocked and the valuables in plain sight.

Arianna Huffington’s announcement last week that she will be launching 12 local Huffington Posts with aggregated news and local bloggers is only the tip of the iceberg, the flashiest fox in the henhouse. The chairman of the board of one of the top U.S. dailies told me last week that he is seeing a lot of other crafty characters coming into his market looking to steal market share in exactly the same way, and he’s finally ready to act.

It’s time for editors to drop their tired excuses: “Bloggers aren’t journalists,” and “they’re just loonies in jammies,” and “my paper’s reputation will be sullied” (hey, guys, YOU choose which ones to publish!).

Pull in the best local bloggers and vloggers now or lose them and the thousands of folks who follow them, going where they can find the best local content and communities of shared interests.

So, in the spirit of your mom’s classic “I’m only going to tell you once more” warning, here’s a whack upside the head for what I’m calling:

THE BLIND PEWS: AMERICA’S TOP 10 MOST PURBLIND PAPERS
The biggest papers in the biggest markets with the biggest collections of local bloggers…that don’t have a single non-staff blogger on their website or in their paper. (Psst: Blind Pew was a blind pirate in Robert Louis Stevensen’s “Treasure Island”; the photo is of Blind Pew from “The Muppets Treasure Island.”)

1.  New York Times: (All the news that’s fit to print but none of the local blogs)
2.  Chicago Tribune (TribLocal is a great hyperlocal site, but it ain’t tribune.com and thus keeps the bloggers where they belong)
3.  Washington Post (Local bloggers are merely indexed and place on a non-intuitive, hard-to-find site called “projects.washingtonpost.com/local-blogs-directory”)
4.  New York Daily News (Daily News to Bloggers: Drop Dead)
5.  New York Post (Blog-less Website In Clueless Paper)
6.  Philadelphia Inquirer (“Yo, Adrian, where are the blogs?”)
7.  Boston Globe (Just two index pages, the biggest at boston-online.com, not boston.com.)
8.  Atlanta Journal-Constitution (“Frankly, my dear bloggers, we don’t give a damn…!”)
9.  Newsday (Local bloggers are phantoms like so many readers were.)
10. San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate: From leaders to laggers)

Next post: “The Blind Pews, Members 11-20”

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12 responses to “THE BLIND PEWS: The Top 10 Most Purblind Papers

  1. But they have a “Director of Culture & Change” now at the AJC! Lemme just check and see where their Facebook profile is and I’ll get back to ya…

  2. I hate to think how many of the “Blind Pew” papers have “Innovation Editors” and “Directors of Culture and Change” and others charged with creating committees to study change and discuss it and write a white paper and study it some more….

    I just visited a paper where one editor said there are dozens of great ideas, and dozens of committees writing dozens of action plans….and no action!

    Fiddling while Rome burns.

  3. Pingback: Is your news site the center of the local mediasphere? | Howard Owens

  4. great one, John! as far as the NYT goes, I’m beginning to see it as a little “boutique” big names who’ve probably been paid to blog at the NYT, thus giving a column to folks who may never thought of having one. Now, that may be blogging per se, but it’s not what’s happening in the community. And if the NYT even wants to reach the community, they’ve *got* to go to the blogs (and there are a ton of them.)

    And Boston.com–well, they have no excuse. they should know better.

  5. I have to admit, I do like the fact that the NYTimes can get some star-power bloggers (Dick Cavett comes to mind).

    But if newspapers are meant to disseminate the news, why should they allow bloggers on their site? Dissemination is part of the newsroom’s job description, no?

    I think that we’d have to successfully answer that question in order to help convince newsrooms to allow the newsroom to become a public forum (which is essentially what blogging is). It’s ALWAYS been the private domain of reporters and editors. Change is hard, you know?

  6. All the practical arguments for linking to local blogs and highlighting the best are dead on, but for those journalism types who still resist, there is a pure journalism argument that should sweep the rest of their objections aside.

    Journalistic institutions exist at their core for one reason — to be windows into reality. In every community in the country, there is a growing conversation on the web in the form of blog posts and comments, tweets, flicker images, youtube videos and on and on and on. These conversations are having an increasingly large impact on the real world in business, government, politics, entertainment and other topics that journalism institutions regularly cover.

    If your journalism institution, whether its real world manifestation is TV or newspaper or radio, does not reflect this conversation and provide a guide for readers into what is happening right now in this conversation then your institution is failing at its most basic journalistic function.

    If you are failing your readers/viewers/listeners, they will go elsewhere.

  7. Clarification: boston-online.com isn’t the Boston Globe; the Globe links to a blog directory I run there.

  8. Hi, Adam:

    Thank you for that clarification.

    I can’t decide if I think it’s great that they’ve reached out to you to expand their horizons, or worse that they want to wash their hands of the blogger community and only “touch it” remotely through a third party.

    If I were them, I’d be pointing off to your site and all the other great Boston blogs, aggregating your headlines and sending traffic your way. What’s to lose? They get additional content that they would never dream of and the rep for being THE source for all things local, and you get the traffic. I just don’t understand their thinking….

    Thanks again for the clarification.

    — John

  9. You might want to look at the boston.com homepage. Way down on the right, way, way down, you’ll see a “blog post of the day” link. Even with it buried and all, it still generates a decent amount of traffic for the blog it points to.

    As for aggregating blog posts, why, yes, that is an excellent idea. :-). I’d settle for the Globe just providing links to the sites it does write about, though.

  10. Adam: Funny, I just had lunch today with Steve Garfield and we were laughing about that very subject (in reference to the most recent Globe failure to recognize the existence of links — the story about CC Chapman and his tweet about his cable service). No links, not even the obvious ones.

    Only after there was a bit of noise did they add a link to Twitter and some other obvious links.

    Better late than never?

    Who knows…maybe they’ll discover comments next!

  11. Pingback: The Worst “Blind Pews” of U.S. Newspapers, PT II « John Wilpers: The power of partnering

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