Michael Skube really stepped in it with his Aug. 19 editorial in the L.A. Times, “Blogs: All the noise that fits.” A Pulitzer-prize winner who teaches journalism at Elon University, Skube attacked bloggers for “a potpourri of opinion and little more” while admitting he didn’t have time to read them. His point was that bloggers don’t do any reporting, which is true in many, if not most, cases, but ignores the growing trend in the blogosphere toward enterprising journalism.
First to take issue with Skube was Josh Marshall, whose Talking Points Memo can take credit for sticking with the scandal over the firing of eight US attorneys until the mainstream media could no longer ignore it. Marshall asked Skube why TPM, which has a staff of eight reporters, plus more than a half-dozen research interns, was mentioned in his column as an example of bloggers who do not do any reporting. Skube admitted that an editor had actually added TPM to the column because the editor didn’t think Skube had included enough examples.
“And this is from someone who teaches journalism?” Marhsall wrote. “Perhaps I’m naive. But it surprises me a great deal that a professor of journalism freely admits that he allows to appear under his own name claims about a publication he concedes he’s never read.”
Jay Rosen followed up yesterday, in the L.A. Times, with a takedown of Skube that included a list of examples of bloggers doing real journalism. The examples include a blow-by-blow of the Scooter Libby trial by Firedoglake and a series by Unbossed.com on collusion between local governments and private toll-road operators.