(UPDATE Apr. 27: Follow the continuing exploration and refinement of the LkpC metric on Ethan Zuckerman’s weblog.)
Yesterday I noted that blogger Ethan Zuckerman has developed a new metric for measuring a newspaper’s popularity in the blogosphere and declared the Christian Science Monitor the “bloggiest” paper on the web by a landslide.
I thought the folks at the Monitor might be pleased, so I dropped them a note in case they hadn’t heard. Today I heard back from Tom Regan, the person in charge of the Monitor’s blogs and author of the My American Experience blog there.
Bearing the enthusiastic subject line “Love it!” here’s what his message said, and the conversation which ensued (posted with his permission). Regan explains why he thinks being “the bloggiest” matters…
(From Tom Regan, CSMonitor.com:)
That is totally wicked, as that little kid says in The Incredibles. I love that we are the bloggiest online newspaper. And we’re happy to be it.
Excellent! I’m glad this matters to the Monitor. Your team does fabulous work. You earned it.
While I’m thinking about it, I’d like to ask you how CSMonitor.com (or just you personally, given your experience with the Monitor) views the evolving dynamic between weblogs and traditional news organizations.
I know you think it’s cool to be the bloggiest paper on the web at present. However, do you think that implies any long-term strategic value for the Monitor? And more specifically, is CSMonitor.com trying to build bridges with the blogosphere, or is that just happening naturally?
– Amy Gahran
(Tom Regan’s response:)
I don’t mind answering the question at all. As the person in charge of blogs at the Monitor, (and, I would like to add, we’ve been blogging for more than four years now), I think about this question all the time.
We believe in links. For us, it’s what the Internet is all about.
We also happen to be a media organization with a slightly different emphasis because of the philosophies of the folks who founded the paper. The people who run this place believe that if you get comprehensive, credible and, fair information into the hands of people (or in front of the eyeballs), that information that helps them better understand what’s going on around them, they will make better decisions about important issues.
That “mission” of the Monitor is every bit as important as making money in fact, I can say after being here 10 years that it’s often more important than making money. It’s the reason I’m still here, since I’m not a Christian Scientist and have no link to the church other than I greatly enjoy working for its publishing arm.
We understand how the Internet helps us accomplish this goal, and that blogs are like a multiplier of the effect. As you said in your Poynter blog item, we also believe it’s going to help the bottom line in the long run as well.
As for your question about building bridges, I’m not an “either/or” kind of guy, I’m a “both/and” guy. (I think it comes from being Canadian.) Yes, we think about a links strategy and we’ve got a really smart guy named Joel Abrams whose whole job is thinking about ways we can get Monitor material in more places online.
But I also think it’s the kind of news we do despite what MSM [mainstream media] types think, most bloggers, be they conservative or liberals or whatever know a good story when they see it and recognize that the Monitor does good journalism. (I know I sound like an ad, but I really believe it.) We also gets lots of links to the blogs we do ourselves Daily Update on Terrorism and Security, My American Experience, our Notebook Iraq and Notebook Africa blogs, The Poetic Life, etc. So we’re very happy for the attention.
I hope that answers your question.
…Now THAT’S a forward-thinking news organization which really “gets” online media without compromising journalistic integrity.
See, journalism and weblogs can peacefully coexist, despite their occasional mutual suspicion and derision. As I tried to explain earlier today, there’s room for all of us in the media universe.
Bloggers and news organizations have a lot to learn from each other, and we can support each other in surprising ways. It might not be a bad idea for other news organizations to consciously aspire to become more “bloggy.”
(UPDATE: Ethan Zuckerman just posted his thoughts on why the Monitor is such a heavyweight in the blogosphere.)