Who Really Won?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Voting Complaints? I Hadn't Heard

The public editor at admits they ignore their readers:

The limited coverage also reflects the evolving relationship between newspapers and Web logs, commonly known as blogs. Skepticism about those blogs among the press is well-founded; several theories and rumors abound on blogs, including many regarding the election, and often are discredited. But newspapers that ignore significant issues on the Web do so at their own peril; they're ignoring topics that matter to many readers.

"It's another reminder that the blog has become an important force in our lives, but that just because something is there, it doesn't mean it's more authentic or more real," says Tom Rosenstiel, of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. "But it does mean that it deserves to be examined."

Rosenstiel says the press needs to do a better job of tapping and vetting what is discussed in the blogosphere -- because blogs often pick up on what matters to many people. "We're not very good at capturing the discussion going on around the kitchen table and the water cooler," he says. "That's what the blogs can do better than the press can do.

And if a significant number of readers have questions about the election process, the newspaper has a responsibility to address those questions. Americans already are skeptical about major institutions, and a recent Harris poll shows 16 percent of those who responded thought the elections were not conducted fairly.