It failed in the big city. So, let's try it here.

In today's edition of editorandpublisher.com, they note that as of today, the Argus Leader has brought forth a concept that the L.A. Times canned - A Wikistyle Editorial. Since their political blog failed in 2004, the Argus has been trying to expand their on-line offerings and interactivity.

So, taking a page from a failed experiment is just a natural next step.

Here's a snippet of what editorandpublisher.com had to say:
Beginning today, the newspaper has launched its own, somewhat altered version of the Times' failed Wikitorial-type approach directed by Michael Kinsley. Unlike the Southern California attempt, the Argus Leader program will have a bit more oversight, Baldwin contends.

"What made this fail in Los Angeles…readers started using profanity and making unsubstantiated and even libelous charges," Baldwin wrote in an editor's note announcing the new approach. "We'll check your editorials before we post them. But we won't edit them - that would defeat the purpose. They either meet our standards and they'll be posted, or they won't and we'll delete them."

The L.A. Times editorials were also hacked, split in two, and more.

The new option, dubbed "You-Write-It" editorials, began Wednesday with an editorial on Sunshine Week, which readers were invited to rewrite via the paper's Web site. As of 4 p.m. this afternoon, no responses had been posted. But, Baldwin did not immediately return a call for comment. (my emphasis)

"This is going to be new stuff for the paper, new stuff for me and new stuff for you," Baldwin added in his note. "We might encounter some bugs along the way, and if we do, we'll just work them out. The goals are simple - get information out more quickly than we can with the printed page and get readers more involved."
Read it all here.
I'm guessing the Argus wants content driven from the readers, but the problem from the start is "how much leeway are they going to give? "They either meet our standards and they'll be posted, or they won't and we'll delete them." That sounds pretty ominous.

How far are they going to let it be stretched? Want to counter a question on open records with a question about how much they paid when they settled the paper carrier lawsuit? *Beeeep* Wrong answer. You are censored. Dare to question the relationship of a political writer has with a politician? My guess is... *Beeeep* Wrong answer, again.

Now, I put that up against the Rapid City Journal's example of Mt. Blogmore.

Mt. Blogmore is a pretty good model, as they've shown they can take the criticism. And they'll either respond with an explanation or take it to heart. (Or Denise Ross will say "Bite Me"). But I'm guessing the Argus is going to be too thin skinned unless I see it demonstrated otherwise. They certainly have railed on about bloggers in the past.

Read the Argus' attempt here. Read Mt. Blogmore here.

My final word? I'll see it when I believe it. The ball is in the Argus' court. Let's see if they want to play, or if they take it and go home.

Comments

mhs said…
What makes the Mount work is that it's run by senior reporters who aren't afraid to mix it up. I can't see Beck, Kranz, et. al. doing the same. You can't be an oracle, after all, if you actually listen to someone else's viewpoint.
Nonnie said…
This is the third attempt at the Argus wanting input and interaction from readers. And I don't think this will get any play either. I read the editorial - too long and not controversial enough to get any responses probably. Argus says they want reader participation, but they don't really seem to as they don't update the sites very often and people lose interest. And they have a very low opinion of bloggers in the first place, which people realize.
Nicholas Nemec said…
The Mount is also easy to navigate. You can read the stories and if you want, with one click all the comments are there and easy to scroll down or scroll back up. There are no fancy graphics that take forever to download. I want the goods and I want them now.

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