My audience is smarter than me.There was a time when opinion writing was the province of a select fortunate few.
Any crank could write a screed screed
1. A long monotonous speech or piece of writing.
a. A strip of wood, plaster, or metal placed on a wall or pavement as a guide for the even application of plaster or concrete.
b. , photocopy it, and pass it out on a street corner. But to be taken seriously, to build an audience, one had to work for an established publication. Respectability was endowed by institutional backing.
Those days are over. Publications still will employ their star columnists and editorial writers, sure, but they face a new and likely unexpected source of competition--the public.
Blogging tools now allow anyone to become a publisher, and millions have taken to the technology. Despite the popular misconception, "blogging" isn't a type of writing, it's merely the use of a tool (like using Microsoft Word A full-featured word processing program for Windows and the Macintosh from Microsoft. Included in the Microsoft application suite, it is a sophisticated program with rudimentary desktop publishing capabilities that has become the most widely used word processing application on the market. to type your columns). Bloggers can be journalists; they can be personal diarists This is a list of diarists.
This literature-related list is incomplete; you can help by [ expanding it].
A - F
But the common thread bonding all bloggers together is that we have an opinion and we're compelled to share it. We're no longer content to consume opinion from those given the media establishment's stamp of approval. We don't feel the need to "pay our dues," preferring that a true marketplace of ideas This article is about the concept. For the public radio show and podcast, see The Marketplace of Ideas (radio program).
The "marketplace of ideas" is a rationale for freedom of expression based on an analogy to the economic concept of a free market. determine who will be read. A true meritocracy mer·i·toc·ra·cy
n. pl. mer·i·toc·ra·cies
1. A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement.
And here's where things got interesting--the public loved it. Readers loved the myriad voices that had previously been shut out of the media landscape. They loved the give-and-take that blogs with community boards Community Boards is a community based mediation program, established in 1976, in San Francisco, California, USA. The program utilizes volunteers from from the neighbourhoods of the city, who work with people involved in disagreements toward the end of resolving the dispute, provided. Readers were no longer content to be fed ideas from columnists (or radio blowhards, for that matter)--they wanted to engage in a conversation, a debate, a coffee shop discussion.
And blogs like mine, with hundreds of thousands of visitors (over a million daily in the run-up to the election), became better read than most newspapers, not to mention any individual columnist.
Speaking at a media conference a year ago, I was challenged by old-media types--bloggers were dangerous because they lacked credibility ("Jason Blair and Judith Miller Judith Miller may refer to:
I challenged them back--the reason I had built my audience wasn't because I pretended to be an expert at anything. I live under the assumption that my audience is smarter than me, and they genuinely are.
It was because I had forged a partnership with them, allowing them to engage in this great conversation. And people love to talk. I asked one newspaper executive from a mid-sized Colorado daily The Colorado Daily (first printed September 13, 1892) began as a student newspaper at the University of Colorado, but was banned from the campus in the spring of 1970 and became a community newspaper for residents of Boulder, Colorado. why they didn't attach message boards to their opinion pieces online. His answer was telling, and the reason newspaper readership is falling while Internet news consumption is rising rapidly:
"We tried message boards, but had to pull them after our star columnist demanded we take them down. He said he didn't want that 'graffiti' next to his columns."
To me and other bloggers, that "graffiti" is beautiful music. We embrace it, encourage it, make it the very reason for our existence. People respond when given their due respect. It's the future of editorial writing in this country.
Forgive me if I sound pompous, but old-school opinion writers will have to embrace their audiences--critics included--or perish. People will increasingly demand no less.
Markos Moulitsas Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (born 11 September 1971), often known by his username and former military moniker "Kos" (kōs), is the founder and main author of Daily Kos, a weblog focusing on liberal, and Democratic Party politics. , creator of The Daily Kos Daily Kos (IPA: /koʊs/) is an American political blog, publishing news and opinion from a progressive point of view. , a left-of-center web blog that was named one of the best blogs for tracking issues regarding the Iraq war. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org