John, I'm not sure how you select material from my blog House of Eratosthenes, http://mkfreeberg.webloggin.com. Sometimes your page picks up nominations for "best" that I don't think are all that good. It's very quick about it, and I assume you've attached something automatic to my RSS feed.
Which is fine, but lately you've scooped up some Superman-related humor that I doubt is appropriate for a family newspaper. Thought I should send you a quick note about it.
I suspect others may also be confused by how this site is arranged. As I explained to Mr Freeberg, The content on the front page is not what is considered for publication. That is simply an aggregation of all of the regional blogs that I monitor. (Minus stuff that is much more offensive than the Superman joke.)
Only the stuff at Blog Watch 2.1 is being considered for the article that appears in Sunday's Forum section.
Freeberg's concern actually illustrates what the people at The Bee feel is the problem with my concept of adding live blog watching to sacbee. The Bee managers fear someone will be offended and therefore nothing can be allowed. A too narrow view in my opinion.
Here is Mr. Freeberg's response to my explanation:
For what it's worth, I agree with you. I'm not a newspaper of course, but my sidebar lists hundreds of blogs on a permanent basis every single day. Most of them are politically-leaning and very passionate; I disagree with a good chunk of them. This has minimal effect on whether or not I'll route people there. If they're informative and interesting, the decision is made and in they go.
I would expect there's a lot of similarity between how much I think about this in my "profession," and how much concern you folks have for it in yours: Do you gather information more effectively by staying away from ideas too much "out of the mainstream," be they on the right or on the left, or can you learn more by embracing those extremes, so long as you're balanced in interpreting what they mean? One of the central premises we keep in mind here, is that if an idea or theory is perceived to be "moderate" or to occupy some happy-medium in between two extremes, this by itself does nothing to make the idea more credible. In other words, sometimes one side can be all right, and another side can be all wrong.
I've seen evidence that this doctrine, which we call the Doctrine of Equally Suspect Center, seems to be a source of lingering controversy among those who bring news. I'm sure you call it something else. As a longtime Sacramento resident who for the last fourteen years has been both pleased and disappointed with Bee coverage, I can vouch for the merit of your product being directly attached to the approach you're taking here. Keep the information "dirty," and let the readers make up their minds what is middle-of-the-road. You start filtering it, you destroy your own value.
Everyone doesn't agree with me on that. I see from the Letters section there are a lot of folks from the "right" and the "left" chastising you with a tone of "why did you print such-and-such?" or some variation of that. They apparently see it as part of your job, to keep certain things secret. I honestly don't even know why you bother to print those. I buy your paper to get news, not watered-down pablum.
Keep up the good work.
I replied to Mr. Freeberg, saying what I've said in this blog before: Newspapers in general and The Bee in particular are in danger of becoming irrelevant -- just a point of interest instead of a focus of community involvement. I am privy in a peripheral way to some of the discussions about what needs to change here at The Bee. Unfortunately, The Bee is a very big ship and it could run aground before anyone can manage to change its course. Meanwhile, The Bee celebrates its 150th birthday this week.