by Cathy Resmer
Hey, check it out! The Rutland Herald is Vermont's first newspaper to host reader-written blogs. Reader Roundtable debuted on Wednesday.
Rutland Herald Editor Randal Smathers announced the new feature in a the first post. Smathers writes:
Our hope is that we'll be able to make the processof how we put out the paper clearer to people, maybe generate somediscussion of how or why a given issue is handled, and help theeditorial team here at the Herald be more responsive to our readers.
Aswith most walks of life, the inner workings of newspapers are familiarto a lot of folks primarily through entertainment media: TV and movies.
And though Spider Man's J. Jonah Jamesonhas been my favorite editor for the past 35 or so years, his life andmine have about zero in common. I mean, I couldn't even smoke stogiesin the office if I wanted to ... although I am occasionally tempted toyell "Parker!" just to see if anybody responds.
As for this blog, personally, I'm excited because it gives me a chance to communicate with more people, more quickly.
So far, contributors include Frank LoPinto of The Cool Blue Blog, and Charles Laramie, who
if he has a blog, I haven't found it yet has a blog called Seeks the Truth (thanks Morgan!). Their topics range from Hurricane Katrina, to the recent decision about the unconstitutionality of the pledge of allegiance, to the VT Attorney General's investigation of rising gas prices.
You apparently can comment on these entries, but only in forums. Like the other RH/Times Argus blogs, the comments don't appear with the entries. Interestingly, the Reader Roundtable is listed on the Rutland Herald site under two headings: Blogs, and Opinion. The TA doesn't have a Reader Roundtable yet, but I think one is probably coming soon.
The Herald is following in the footsteps of other papers across the country, which have adopted similar approaches to news and opinion gathering. A good place to start if you're looking for examples is cyberjournalist.net.
Yes, Seven Days is working on new media initiatives, too. We'll have more news next month...