September, 2003: In publishing this op-ed piece with the Los Angeles Times, I had the strange experience of penetrating the newspaper’s online operation to fix something. Despite assurances, they had failed to include a “live” link to PressThink in the bio lines. But they did print the url itself with the http:// and everything; and so I called the city desk to try to speak with an editor. Found there were no editors available who understood what a link was, and why it mattered, or what the url meant. The “web guys” knew. Different silo.
By suggesting that my own call be transfered, I finally reached the kid on duty who was running the LATimes.com site live. He changed it for me in 30 seconds, though it took 30 minutes to get to him. He wasn’t a journalist, he was a geek, and all alone there. Or so it seemed to me. I felt like he inhabited a Los Angeles Times future that was a ghost town.
Most newspaper staffers just don’t understand the wave that’s hitting them. Judging by the response to this New York Times story, writers and editors don’t understand blogs, nor do they want to learn.