Saturday, February 03, 2007

Terry Moran vs. a talking head

My latest analysis of Terry Moran's Web log actually brings to mind a point about the difference between what are often called "talking heads" and a working journalist like Mr. Moran.

If you look at the postings on Moran's web log, you can see serious commentary as he is drawing on his experiences as a journalist, not just spouting off his opinion (as I guess I'm doing on this blog).

In fact, Moran is very careful to leave his opinion OUT Of his web log. Instead, providing just enough depthy (an academic term that says more than "deep") analysis to provoke a reader's response.

This week I've been struck by the discourse on the two black Super Bowl coaches and in particular, the programs on some of the cable networks.

Originally, I was going to do a follow-up posting on that subject, which I addressed a few days ago. But, when I downloaded the transcripts of some of these shows and really read through them, I was unimpressed.

Earlier this week, I had a chance to chat with a recruiter/instructor from the Columbia School of Journalism. She was lamenting the idea of talking about blogs when she's read so many uninspiring blog postings of some of her students. We were chatting about whether blogging ought to be incorporated in our journalism instruction.

I've based my own enthusiasm for this medium on the great things I've read on journalists' blogs and opportunities I've had to report on things I've witnessed, often on events the local media won't cover.

That said, I see that often these talking heads on the cable network shows have very elaborate Websites promoting their books, media appearances and on-air ventures. But, their postings and on-air comments are uninformed, superficial and often not worth my time.

I guess I should just turn the channel right? Well, it's not that easy.

If the discussion is on a subject about which I care a great deal, I want to see people engaging on the subject who have done the research and are well-informed on the subject.. not just there to debate the other side and then go home.

I suppose the reality here is that those talk shows are designed primarily to showcase the extremes in a debate, not provide substantive insight on key issues of the day. For that, I have to go to my fellow journalists, who instead of telling us what to think, tell us what IS and WHY it IS. Then, the rest is up to us.

Before we as journalists (working and semi-working) and journalism professors totally embrace Web logs as a news medium, we have to take a more critical look at what's being offered online. I think that's what I tried to do with Moran's blog.

Perhaps this process goes without saying.

I think it might be worth a mention.

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