"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Professional Journalist And The Amateur Blogger

Over the past several weeks Enlighten-NewJersey was been mentioned twice in the Jersey Side blog, written by John Shabe the editor of NJ.com. Yesterday, we were reviewing our site meter logs and noticed a few visitor referrals from Jersey Side. Curious, we decided to see what Shabe had written that prompted the visits. Here’s the first post we found:

Oopsie Doodle

I like to see somebody go out on a limb and make a bold prediction the way Republican blogger EnlightenNJ did today. But somehow for me at least some of the oomph gets sucked out of it when you can't spell ...

Enlighten Error

UPDATE: Enlighten had corrected the spelling of Corzine by 4 p.m. today. Fortunately I captured it for posterity ... nyuk nyuk nyuk.
Now here is where the difference between a professional journalist/editor and amateur bloggers becomes apparent. You see as amateurs, we would have characterized the misspelling of Corzine as a typo, especially because the Senator’s name was spelled correctly in the second sentence of the same post. As a professional, Shabe knows the difference between a misspelling and a typo and has provided us with a valuable lesson in journalism.

As amateurs, we would have mistakenly highlighted the prediction aspect of the post, assuming the content would have the most potential to interest readers. For example, we might have titled the post - Bold Election Prediction or Dream on Enlighten. See here again, we would have been wrong. A professional knows from experience and with his finger on the pulse of his readers, you draw them in with the title Oopsie Doodle and highlight the fact the Republican bloggers at Enlighten can’t spell.

As far as we know this was the first Enlighten-NewJersey post John Shabe has ever linked to on his Jersey Side blog. We read Jersey Side periodically and have never noticed a mention before of any of our more than 400 posts. Clearly, Shabe hadn’t found anything in our efforts, prior to this one, of potential interest or value to his readers.

Fair enough, he used his expertise as a professional journalist and editor to choose just the right post to introduce his readers to our blog. Lucky for his readers, Shabe doesn’t post on all of our misspellings and grammatical errors, his blog would be packed with them, no doubt.

Don’t get us wrong, we now know Shabe’s post was to be taken all in good fun. Just look at how he updated his post after we corrected our error. He provides his readers with a screen shot containing the error for “posterity” and adds ... nyuk nyuk nyuk. You see once again, the professional knows how to convey the spirit in which the post was written. As amateurs we would have missed this opportunity.

Our second link from the Jersey side came this past Monday:

Pass The Cotton Candy

I have to say I'm kinda miffed that local bloggers are all a-twitter of Enlighten NJ's weekly Carnival of The Jersey Bloggers, which basically links to a laundry list of Jersey blog posts each week. I'm miffed because ... well ... that's what I do like every day. But nobody gets all excited when I link to their posts ... sigh

and this has nothing to do with the fact that none of my posts have made it onto Enlighten's Sunday list ... OK, maybe it has a little to do with it.

All we can say is - gee John, all you had to do was send us an email with a post you wanted linked and we would have included you. Consider yourself personally invited. You are also welcome to host the Carnival. We have an opening for this Sunday if you’re interested and if this Sunday’s not good for you, pick a date that’s not already taken and it’s yours. It seems to take forever for us to write up the laundry list, but as a professional you could probably dash it off in a few minutes. You’d do a better job of writing too.

Before we were able to finish and publish this post, it seems more is being written on this subject in the Jersey blogosphere that should be added. See Mister Snitch’s post here and John Shabe’s post here.

John in his latest post writes:

I'm a sensitive fellow, likely too sensitive to be a blogger, so yes it does bother me to be criticized like this, but it's OK.

Just a few observations from an amateur blogger to a professional: When you criticize others, you’re likely to be criticized in return. When you elevate blog dialogue to the level of interesting ideas, facts, analysis, events and stories, it takes away the personal sting when a debate ensues. The content of the post is criticized, not the person and hard feelings are less likely to develop.

Of course when the attacks become petty and personal, every blogger should take the opportunity to point out the attacker has chosen the low road. After that, let it go, your readers will decide if you have been treated fairly and have treated others likewise.

Ah oh, we just received a few slaps on the wrist. Did we mention we’re just amateurs. Okay, no excuses – we promise to try harder in the future, especially with misspellings.

P.S. We’ve heard all publicity is good publicity – just as long as the name’s spelled right. Any chance you could spell our blog’s name correctly, John?


At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bingley said...

Geesh, those 'pros' are getting a little touchy of late. If you want a few more Jersey bloggers my blog The Coalition Of The Swilling is more than 1/3 Jersey, and my good friend Nightfly is all Jersey.

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough. Now if Jon Corzine would learn to add and subtract properly we would all be happy.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Eric Blair said...


*sarcasm light off*

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Glass House said...

Well said, Enlighten New Jersey! Mr. Shabe's childish outburst smacks of jealousy. I would suspect that this is further evidence of the MSM's nervousness and discomfort with Bloggers. Might he be a bit worried about his future?? Hey John, take some initiative and be part of the carnival, don't cry about it, just do it.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger MamaQ said...


I love it.

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