Did Accident Rain On Pajamas Media’s Parade?

By
November 25, 2005

Update2: I see Ann Althouse has picked up on this post. Thanks, Ann.

That’s a very sharp and constructive criticism. What does Dan get for it? Jeff Goldstein shows up in the comments and goes after him until Dan actually rewrites his post to "correct the emphasis."

With absolutely no humility at all, lol I’d characterize my comments as sharp advice for any blogger interested in doing news. What led to the update was a fairly reasonable discussion with Jeff on blogging and I realized that the emphasis was wrong to make the point I wanted to make. Given blogging’s history, IMO, some of the criticism of PJM is getting to be a bit unfair.

Like many, I have real issues with aspects of PJM and how they continue to handle things. To date, I think some of the management is either over-whelmed with information, or unwilling to listen to different views. But I am trying to keep this from degenerating into a destructive flame fest, as my interest overall is the success of blogging as a new media – and not in the success or failure of any personalities or group involved.

As many can tell you, I don’t get bullied out here – and I don’t try to bully others. I’d rather see less flaming and more discussion all around. And that, and nothing else, led to my initial update below. I’m not a can’t we all get along kinda guy. But I don’t want to be anything more than an adolescent mud sling-er, either.

Note that I linked Jarvis’ criticism of the editorial meeting as overly harsh in my original entry and my update was consistent with the tone I wanted to convey. That doesn’t always happen out of the shoot with a blog entry. If I can allow myself room to breath and improve a post, or effort – I can be reasonable enough to extend the same courtesy to others. It didn’t appear I was doing that with the original and I wanted to make it clear that I was.

People should give some thought to what happened in that editorial meeting – it was open to public view. A fledgling business opened up something of a brain trust for all to see – even a potential competitor. I gather they did that to give at least some sense of openness and they took a risk in doing it. If they hadn’t, some folks would be screaming because they were too closed door. I am unwilling to try and paint anyone genuinely interested in the future of blogging in general into a corner where they feel they can’t make any move without being too harshly attacked. In my view, that’s simply unfair.

Update: Jeff G and I have been kicking this around in comments and a few emails and I think it is right to correct the emphasis. The real point of this post is not to take PJM to task for something which wasn’t done in this regard. It is really more about the future.

I expressed to Jeff my anticipation that one day PJM would, hopefully, be indexed by Google News. If that eventuates, in a case like the parade today – a PJM blogger would be able to fire off a post with background information, a report on the wind conditions, etc – which would be every bit as good and possibly even better than the first thing the AP might generate. Hitting the wires with posts like that can pull people to a site and hopefully draw them back to you as a source for news.

Internet news readers would most likely be Googling things like MGM Parade, Parade accident, etc. after events like this take place. When bloggers can capitalize on available information to do a timely, substantive post in certain cases, it does work to bring in readers. And that’s always the first step in keeping them.

Ann Althouse is taking PJM to task for their live blogging of MGM’s Thanksgiving Parade in which two spectators received minor injuries. There’s a subtext here which I believe can be sort of a lesson learned for all bloggers. The live blogging received a link from Instapundit here and it was likely viewed as a way to interject some fun into the site on a Holiday. I don’t find that to be such a bad thing. However, what did happen represented a very real opportunity lost, in my opinion.

As I live outside NYC, I can tell you that radio and television weather broadcasts were mentioning the danger from high winds for the parade over the last two days. Actually, look at this pre-parade report.

Balloons Will Fly in Thanksgiving Parade

NEW YORK – The giant balloons will fly in today’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There was some question that the winds would pose a safety problem with the balloons. But city officials, meeting with police and Macy’s representatives who are hosting the parade decided just before eight this morning that the winds were within safe speeds to fly the balloons.

Under current guidelines, the giant balloons are grounded when winds reach 23 miles per hour or gust stronger than 34 miles per hour.

The National Weather Service is predicting 15 to 20 mile per hour winds for this morning with gusts up to 30 mph.

PJM’ers are going to have accept that this post isn’t being offered as an overly harsh criticism of developments, or a suggestion that I or someone else might have done better, or been more prepared. A lesson learned isn’t about assigning blame, it’s about improving for the future based upon 20/20 hindsight.

With just a very little bit of research into what turned out to be an important subtext of this particular parade, PJM might have been in a position to put something rather substantive out within minutes of the accident, offering readers something they likely wouldn’t have gotten from the MSM on line for an hour.

News is rarely, if ever that which is expected – it’s the unexpected which makes headlines. If we as bloggers want to move into an increasingly significant role as reporters, we’re going to have to learn to be better prepared in certain cases.

That is a huge challenge and I am not going to fault PJM for its not having been met this time out. However, if the goal is to have more and more people tune into PJM, or simply blogs, over time, expectations are going to increase, not decrease for bloggers with PJM, as well as not. Going from a reactive mode to a proactive one is no simple feat. But in my opinion, it is something to think about for the future.

Finally, the url for the live blogging still contains the_horror_the_horror.php. The injuries weren’t that serious, this is not the end of the world – but the details which are going to need attention in PJM’s endeavor are many, and overtime they will most likely come to count.

Some may recall this NJ flood story from Oct. 14, wherein NBC’s Michele Kosinski was caught off guard when two men walked by in the knee deep water as she was paddling around in a canoe. Bloggers had a ball at her and NBC’s expense – as we grow, the tables are going to be turned. And we’re going to have to be ready for it when it happens, perhaps over a much more serious story.

Please consider supporting RiehlWorldView with a small donation
, by shopping at Amazon via our Associate link in the sidebar or by re-distributing our content across the Web with the options below. Thank you.


Comments:
  1. Jeff G says:

    No offense, but you’ve got to be kidding, Dan.
    You are missing the point entirely. We were liveblogging NOT THE PARADE, but the COVERAGE of the parade. And so we blogged what THEY WERE COVERING, AS THEY WERE COVERING IT.
    Think “Mystery Science Theater”. Or “Beavis and Butthead.”
    No amount of preparation would have allowed us to will the coverage another way. CBS was controlling that. We were completely at their mercy.
    Now, had bloggers ACTUALLY BEEN ON THE SCENE, sure.
    But who wants to go to a parade?
    You are offering criticisms that simply don’t apply to this particular case. Knowing that it was going to be cold and windy — which we didn’t need to “research,” because the CBS talking heads mentioned it on more than a few occasions, and besides, we could see how people were dressed — wouldn’t have helped us AT ALL in getting the scoop on the injuries. Again, we were at the mercy of the producers of the parade coverage.
    And finally, why would we go back in and CHANGE a liveblog? Isn’t that airbrushing history? OF COURSE the original posts are there. They happened in real time.
    I simply don’t understand this post at all, frankly — particularly the last bit about the canoe. How does that apply? Explain the analogy.

  2. Dan says:

    I’m not suggesting you change the thread – merely pointing out somewhere down the line if a light piece turned dark, there would be fine points like that to at least think about. That’s all.
    As to what you’re saying about the coverage – okay I got that – I didn’t criticize what was done. I was simply pointing it out as an opportuinity which could have generated a newsy post was all. Two different things.
    I wasn’t saying the canoe thing was the same type of deal – only pointing out that any “perceived” misstep gets picked up on by other media today. Certainly, NBC’s debacle was a serious deal as regards misrepresentation. I’m not implying that’s what happened with the parade at all.
    As the audience grows, the criticism will grow in frequency and detail. And, again, I wasn’t criticizing what was done, so much as what didn’t happen next from a news perspective.

  3. Dan says:

    see my post which I did shortly after it came over the wire. Having had the benefit of local newscasts, my mind went right to that angle. But I didnt do anything with it either – other than mention it. Glenn was talking about doing “reporting” more at PJM – I was simply suggesting this could have been an opportunity – really for any PJM blogger.
    http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2005/11/mgms_thanksgivi.html

  4. Jeff G says:

    How could it have generated a newsy post? We covered the thing “live” as the networks gave it to us. The only other thing we could have done was to be there ourselves and scoop CBS.
    Now, how a PJM media person been nearby and had an opportunity to relay information from on the ground to us, we would have posted it, certainly. But we’re not network anchors, and we weren’t looking to be taken seriously today — something I should think the entire tone would have made clear.
    However, if you were reading us and not watching the parade, you would have known, from our liveblog, that a lampost had been hit, and that there was a possibility someone was hurt.
    In fact, I made that guess before CBS did, and posted it.

  5. Dan says:

    In fact, I made that guess before CBS did, and posted it.
    Fair enough and I saw that, yes. But this is my thinking and it’s all it is. PJM will hopefully get picked up by Google News one day. That gives it a chance to write breaking stories – even if not on the ground. Remember – my point was what could happen in a version of the future for PJM.
    I am still unconvinced those balloons should have evn been up. THAT would be far too complex a story for a blogger to jump on right away. However, a post up on PJM which addressed the wind issue, history, actually data from the day available on line at the time could have been a win for PJM.
    Basically, it is a similar principle I’ve seen work – and I’d rather address that in email.

  6. FloridaPatty says:

    I think Jeff (and you Dan, sorry) missed the joke. Think 1975, the original Night Ready for Prime Time Players, and commercials like “Puppy Uppers”. Edge of truth, more humor than not.
    Let’s talk about those balloons too, how many years have they been flying? Just ONE year I would love to see Pink Floyd’s flying pig. A night parade would be so much cooler. Think of the lighting, my imagination is going wild with possibilities.

  7. FloridaPatty says:

    I think Jeff (and you Dan, sorry) missed the joke. Think 1975, the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players, and commercials like “Puppy Uppers”. Edge of truth, more humor than not.
    Let’s talk about those balloons too, how many years have they been flying? Just ONE year I would love to see Pink Floyd’s flying pig. A night parade would be so much cooler. Think of the lighting, my imagination is going wild with the possibilities.

  8. bryan says:

    Does it bother anyone at OSM/PM that the *humor pieces* are about the only things anyone has read so far? And they have been taken wrong/blown out of proportion/whatever?

  9. Captain Joe says:

    I suspect live reports from bloggers will be treated by MSM like AMATEUR VIDEO tape is treated… always with a warning that you are viewing AMATEUR VIDEO tape.

  10. don surber says:

    Live Blogging is simply watching TV with a laptop.
    Were any of these people IN the parade? AT the parade? NEAR the parade city? IN the same state as the parade? IN a state adjacent to the parade? READING about it in Parade Magazine? HAVE parade to God?

  11. cindi in pa says:

    I’ll volunteer for next years parade,as long as someone supplies me with a laptop and pj’s ;)

  12. Elmo says:

    Make my PJ’s Kevlar please.

  13. *flo* says:

    I’ll be in Disney World next week…want me to supply video cellphone footage of the character car parade;P

  14. Dan says:

    I’ll be in Disney World next week…want me to supply video cellphone footage of the character car parade;P
    No, but if Goofy or Tigger gropes any more kids and you get it on film, let me know. lol Remember that story?

  15. *flo* says:

    Yep…think the Tigger story was thrown out of court…I get “anything” good…sexy princess’s…send it to ya;)

  16. cindi in pa says:

    lol Remember that story?
    Posted by: Dan | Nov 25, 2005 4:41:19 PM
    That story was funny as hell. Sesame Place a few years back, a father beat up Cookie Monster for ignoring his kid. Although I felt bad for the person wearing the costume, the pictures in the news were hysterical. Of course some found no humor in that story either lol.

  17. Jeff G says:

    Wow. Almost didn’t recognize Surber without the 50 trackbacks appended to his remarks.

  18. sadie says:

    The trackbacks are quite excessive, one must agree. It’s a shame that the trackbacks aren’t based on the value of Surber’s words, but on a preconceived linkage scheme.
    Not that I know what I’m talking about at this point. 103 degrees of fever tends to fry the brain.

  19. Dan says:

    103 degrees of fever tends to fry the brain.
    Oooo – take care, Kiddo! Plenty of fluids and back to bed for you.

  20. sadie says:

    Kiddo? I’m thirty years old, remember? Once you reach thirty, it’s all downhill….

  21. sadie says:

    Kiddo? I’m thirty years old, remember? Once you reach thirty, it’s all downhill….

  22. Carnival of the NJ Bloggers

    well, well…. welcome to the Post-Thanksgiving Carnival of the NJ Bloggers, #28!!! i took it upon myself to whip up a few items to serve y’all… hopefully everyone is…

  23. Carnival of the NJ Bloggers

    well, well…. welcome to the Post-Thanksgiving Carnival of the NJ Bloggers, #28!!! i took it upon myself to whip up a few items to serve y’all… hopefully everyone is…

  24. Carnival of the NJ Bloggers

    well, well…. welcome to the Post-Thanksgiving Carnival of the NJ Bloggers, #28!!! i took it upon myself to whip up a few items to serve y’all… hopefully everyone is…

  25. Carnival of the NJ Bloggers

    well, well…. welcome to the Post-Thanksgiving Carnival of the NJ Bloggers, #28!!! i took it upon myself to whip up a few items to serve y’all… hopefully everyone is…

  26. Carnival of the NJ Bloggers

    well, well…. welcome to the Post-Thanksgiving Carnival of the NJ Bloggers, #28!!! i took it upon myself to whip up a few items to serve y’all… hopefully everyone is…

  27. Mr. Snitch! says:

    “Wow. Almost didn’t recognize Surber without the 50 trackbacks appended to his remarks.”
    Nice gratuitous swipe by a PJM contributor looking down his nose at bloggers laboring to publicize their own offerings. Check out those pathetic plebes entering Carnivals. Can’t they get an Instapundit link?
    Guess the irony re how so many in the MSM still view bloggers is just lost here.