Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

Hissyfits over headlines

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

A few days ago, Matt Drudge linked to an article about Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. He sliced through the cutaneous and subcutaneous fat and cut right to the guts of the piece, linking with this headline: “Health insurance proof required for work.”

Joe Klein of Time didn’t like Drudge’s six-word summary of the article, and threw a fit on Time’s Swampland blog.

Between you and me, my first thought was to blame Mrs. Klein for creating a situation whereby her husband’s most intense release was achieved by banging away on a keyboard, having been worked into an emotional lather by a stronger, more dominant male blogger.

But then I realized that a few people reading this blog may suspect I’m talking about them, so I decided to not even mention it.

My second thought, and the one I’ll say out loud, is that Joe Klein is seriously underestimating the intelligence of the political crowd. Despite their outward partisan posture, most political people are pretty reasonable. Drudge may provide a certain thought map with his words, but Rs, Ds, Libertarians and Greens are smart enough to read the piece in its entirety and find their own way home.

Of course, I doubt that Klein is truly mad at Drudge after all of this. When Drudge links to his blog, Klein receives exponentially more-than-usual attention — which, in the end, is all most of these guys really care about anyway.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.

Peter Kinder’s Blogger Conference Call

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

As documented elsewhere on the Interwebs, Peter Kinder hosted a conference call for bloggers yesterday afternoon. If memory serves, he’s the first serious candidate in Missouri to do anything of the sort.

Conventional wisdom tells us that most, if not all, statewide candidates will hold open Q&As with bloggers this cycle. Common sense tells us something else.

The people who tell candidates what to “believe” and how to say it have enough problems dealing with the real media, so who wants to open themselves up to questions from hyperpartisan bloggers?

A: Peter Kinder and any other candidate with nothing to hide.

Let’s face it: The toughest questions Democrats can ask the Lt. Gov. right now involve Paul McKee. Which is, ironically, exactly what Peter wants to talk about this week. And next week. And the week after that. Every open and honest answer about McKee’s contributions segues nicely into riffs on Northside redevelopment and Peter’s work in St. Louis City.

Glasnost? Da!

When it comes to providing access to bloggers, we’re a long way from letting the Hancock kids read questions to Jay Nixon about the Second Injury Fund, and we’ll never hear Matt Blunt ask Howard Beale if he’d like to know more about fee office management. Still, Kinder’s approach to opposition bloggers — and the questions they ask — sets an exemplary example.


Live Blogging the Peter Kinder Blogger Conference Call [Missouri Politics]

Peter Kinder Conference Call: Liveblogging [24th State - Jim Durbin]

Kinder hopes for EcoDevo restart [CDT Politics Blog]

Kinder unveils new high-tech campaign site [SE Missourian]

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.

Big picture, fellas.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

In Tony Messenger, Missouri bloggers have someone in an editorial room who reads our collective work daily and follows up on our tips. Those tips — from right-wing and left-wing blogs alike — end up as straight news stories and editorials in the print edition, to eventually be read by tens of thousands more people than our online sites attract.

If we care about influencing opinion, isn’t that really the big picture here?

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com.  E-mail rules here.

The blogger baby boom

Monday, May 14th, 2007

There’s been a proverbial baby boom of blogs born during this legislative session. Some offer value, others … well, not so much.

But the ones that are good are pretty good indeed, and I hope they stick around. To them, I’ll offer a few brief pieces of advice.

1.) Build your own traffic. No matter how you slice it, there are only a couple thousand people in Missouri who follow politics very closely every day. If your site is good enough, these consumers of information will find you and keep coming back. Blogrolls and such things are some of the most overrated “tools” in all of blogdom — since January 1, less than 1% of all visitors to my site came from another Missouri blog. In other words, if every other blog in the state shut down, just about every person who came to my site today would still come back tomorrow. Building your own following means that when those other sites fall by the wayside, you won’t be affected. It also means that when other bloggers leave you off their “favorite links” or “sites I like” lists, you will be considerably less likely to give a shit.

2.) Respect the intelligence of your audience. Longtime visitors remember that in the old days, I would sometimes link to the same news article or opinion piece for days in a row to make a point — in retrospect, doing so was overkill. Resist the urge to beat your audience over the head when a little tap on the noggin will do.

3.) Have fun. At least one site seems to get this. Good for them. Besides, is there anything more annoying than a blogger that takes himself too seriously? No offense to those people who are paid to run oppo sites, but the rest of us do this for fun, so excuse us if we have a good laugh at the expense of a few Stiffly Stiffersons now and then.

Of the dozen or so new sites hatched this spring, most all will have disappeared by this point next year. But the ones that make it a full year will probably be very good, and will likely offer something of value to all of us during the fall of 2008.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.