Monday, September 27, 2004
Here's an idea: rather than waiting for mistakes to enter the mainstream media and subsequently be jumped on by the blogosphere, why not offer up the expertise of the bloggers (or some delicately selected subset thereof) as a resource to journalists as the stories are actually being written? This turns the standard picture of bloggers-as-manic-guardians-of-accuracy on its head, but the category of "bloggers" is so diverse as to be an overgeneralization almost by definition, so it might work.
That's the notion, anyway, behind 411blog, a new venture set up by Andrew Cline of rhetorica.net and Jay Manifold of A Voyage to Arcturus. They are offering up a list of bloggers who have some credentials in various areas, primarily science-oriented, as a resource to journalists who would like a quick answer on some technical question.
We'll see how it goes. Success will require both that journalists avail themselves of the service, and that the bloggers offer useful input. Most science journalists have their own private lists of trusted experts in the various areas they write about, but good ones are always looking to extend their horizons. Being a blogger doesn't convey any special expertise in and of itself, but it may indicate a willingness to make an effort to reach out to a wider audience. Or, as in my case, it may just serve as a convenient outlet for one's extravagant narcissism. But as long as we can channel our neuroses in socially useful directions, what more can we ask?