Tuesday, October 10, 2006


"Blogs are not competitors and not problems"

'Wash Post' Editor Downie: Everyone in Our Newsroom Wants to Be a Blogger

By David S. Hirschman

WASHINGTON Speaking at the Online News Association's annual convention in Washington, D.C., Friday, Washington Post editor Len Downie looked back on the changes in newsgathering and production over the past decade, and listed some of what he thought would be the biggest challenges for news organizations in the near future.

Downie said that when it first became apparent that the Internet would change the news business, executives and editors worried that its influence would erode the quality of journalism, increase competition, and become a distraction for the reporters and editors working on the print edition of the paper. But he said instead that the increased focus on the Web has "improved journalism a lot, way more than we could have expected."

"Everyone in our newsroom wants to be a blogger."

And the blogs that pick apart every article that the Post produces are a good thing, said Downie, because they "keep the paper honest" and, even if their commentary isn't positive, bring people to the site.

"Blogs are not competitors and not problems," he said. "Instead we have a very interesting symbiotic relationship. Our largest driver of traffic is Matt Drudge."

Downie speculated that perhaps in the future content sharing between old media and new media would be less of a one-way street, with print media taking cues and integrating ideas from multimedia integration and blogs.

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