For the last four weeks or so, selected articles from my blog have been reproduced in the Hartford Courant's new opinion section, "Connecticut Online: Excerpts from State Blogs" The Courant has decided to start including these excerpts from various blogs in their Sunday opinion pages and in the new online section.
(Note: the link above might not be permanent, so if you can't get there, go to the Courant Op Ed page and look for the "Connecticut Online" link in the list of articles)
So far it's been an interesting experience. I've seen at least four of my articles (*) reprinted in the Courant, although they are edited for space and lacking the videos and pictures, which I think tends to detract from the impact of my admittedly sophomoric writing. Hey, I'll be the first to admit that I depend heavily on off-beat videos and interesting images to make my point, but for the most part the articles they reprint are clear enough.
The timing of the Courant's introduction of this program was a bit disturbing, since it was shortly followed with their announcement of layoffs of reporters and staff. There's no question that this may be seen by some as a way for them to get free content to replace the output of their formerly paid employees. Believe me, the last thing I ever want to do is take food off of someone's table.
But for the most part, the inclusion of the blog excerpts is more like the "Letters to the Editor" section, which is also "free content" culled from the "masses". None of the bloggers are being paid for their content as far as I know. At least, I'm not, that's for sure.
I'm not writing anything FOR the Courant. Since I write first and only for my blog, if the Courant wants to reprint my work for distribution and they agree not to twist my words, I'm fine with it. It helps get my progressive opinions out there for more people to read. There are plenty of Republican blogs who are taking advantage of this program, and unless we want to let this information pathway be completely dominated by them, it's necessary to participate.
The major drawbacks of this program are 1) they select and edit the articles without my input. When I see them appear, that's when I know what they selected, and 2) none of my awesome video or images included. I've retained the option of opting out of the program at any time for any reason, but so far I'm fairly satisfied with it. I do have to watch myself that I don't start editing my writing to reflect what they'll use (like, do I need to use those three "fucks", or can I make my point with two "hecks" and a "darn"?)
If I ever start doing that, as far as I'm concerned, I'm done!
I am somewhat grateful that the Hartford Courant isn't owned by the same media conglomerate as the Greenwich Time. Hell, I've showed up in photos taken at Jim Himes fund raisers! Considering what they did to Sarah Darer Littman, they'd probably SHOOT me for my progressive tendencies! Forget a lousy "meet & greet"; I've produced and posted VIDEOS featuring the candidate!
Thankfully, the Hartford Courant appears to still embrace the idea that OPINION is exactly that!
UPDATE: Ed McKeon over at Caterwauled has some thoughts on my participation in this thing. I'm enjoying the discussion.
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(*) These are the articles I've seen so far:
"Why McCain is Dreading the Debates"
"A Noun, A Verb, and the word Partisan"
"Czeching the facts"