Friday, April 4, 2008

A Virtual Ghost Town: The Tennessean's Blogs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge ghost-town.jpg
Can someone explain why The Tennessean publishes so many different blogs when it can't be bothered to update them more than a few times a month. Recently, I wrote that Tennessean columnist Gail Kerr rarely posts on her online journal, and when she does, she has nothing interesting to say. Well, as you might have expected, I have no effect on Kerr. In the two weeks and a day since my shout-out, Kerr's posted exactly twice and has been dark for more than 10 days. If The Tennessean is going to trumpet its commitment to the brave new world of new media—it's rare that editor Mark Silverman goes a column without mentioning the word "blog"—shouldn't the paper try to keep its online journals more current than a Hillary Clinton punchline? Then again, it's not just Kerr, who ventures timidly into the interweb. Sports writer Maurice Patton hasn't updated his Vanderbilt blog in 10 days, while his peer, Jessica Hopp, hasn't contributed to her “Recreation & Fitness” blog since March 4. Paul Kuharsky's site is a veritable ghost down. It hasn't seen a post since Feb. 18. And I picked those those randomly. I could go on and on. It's not easy for a working reporter to keep a blog on the side, so wouldn't it make more sense for The Tennessean to go from 50 or so sites that are updated as regularly as a Farmer's Almanac to, say, 10 vigorous ones? I'm certainly no expert on blogging either, but it seems like The Tennessean's approach to online content makes the paper look silly. If you really think that the future of the daily newspaper exists on the web and that the more informal medium of blogs is how you will reach new readers, then start by giving them something they want to read.

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