Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ode to the blog

I just want to take a moment to clarify something. The blog is not a venue for articles. Anything that appears on them is similar to a writer's column, but even less formal and free to address pretty much any subject matter. Especially if that subject matter doesn't really fit our job description. For example, I am a sports writer, but I can write on the blog about politics if I want. If I decide dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate in every way (which it is), I have the right to vouch for that here with no hesitations.

And other writers can do the same. But one of our writers was recently chastised for responding to some high school drama on the blog. Ah, the life of someone in the public eye. Obviously, it's perfectly acceptable and welcomed to disagree with blog postings and post your own comments in response. That is also what the blog is for, to stimulate debate. We want community members to know about the blog. We want them to read it and respond and enlighten everyone around them by voicing their opinion and contributing to the discussion. So if you're going to rip someone apart, do it because you disagree and can present a sound counterargument intelligently. Do not respond because you think the writer should not be allowed to post such "articles." Because they're not articles, they're opinions and ideas to consider. And we ARE allowed to post them. They may be controversial in subject matter, but they will never be overtly inappropriate. The blog is sort of our venue to act like regular, non-journalist people. Just like you. No, we're not always right and we're not always eloquent (although we certainly try). And not even all of us writers can 100 percent agree on things colleagues may say, but that isn't the point. So give us slack, I say!

This is why I have always felt that the 24-hour rule was my mother's greatest invention. OK, so it wasn't my mother's idea, but she certainly practiced it. I'm sure most people know what I'm referring to, but for those unaware persons, the 24-hour rule is simply an effort to sit on a response for a day before writing it. If something is written or said that upsets you, by all means respond. But do so a day later. Those 24 hours can do a lot for your psyche, giving you time to cool off, formulate your response the way you want it to be understood and avoid the use of foul language. It's simple, but it's instrumental. No one wants to read hate mail. But simultaneously, no one likes that feeling of regret in the pit of their stomach after they've clicked the "send" button and realized perhaps it wasn't prudent to do so. Because it can be embarrassing to portray oneself negatively.

So let's all chill out, take a little breather, and get back to blogging the way blogging was intended.


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