Number 2 in the Blogging World

Jay Rosen’s NYU students just completed a project on the best blogging newspapers in the United States. First was the Houston Chronicle and second was DC’s own Washington Post. They looked for “Ease-of-use and clear navigation”, “Currency” (how often the blogs were updated), “Quality of writing, thinking and linking”, “Voice”, “Comments and reader participation” , “Range and originality”, “Explain what blogging is on your blogs page” and “Show commitment!”

    The Blue Plate Special team had high expectations for blogging at the Washington Post because…it’s the Washington Post. Surprisingly, most of these were met. Galanis praised the “variety of blogs written with the same standards of quality the paper is known for.” Most of the Special-ers were impressed if not amazed by how busy the Post comment sections were. Of course it’s a high traffic site.

    The Post was found to have writers who spoke with real authority or displayed extraordinary talent–led by Joel Achenbach’s Achenblog, which drew the most praise of any newspaper blog the Specials saw. “Achenbach pulls off the lofty task of making his blog more than just an online column,” writes Alfuso. “He covers other blogs, receives tons of comments, and doesn’t confine himself to one particular topic.” Krase is blunter. She likes his “his snarky and sarcastic writing tone.”

    “Easy to navigate and the blogs were extremely well-written and developed,” said Ocampo. “And thrown into the mix, a smartly written fashion blog, which I loved.” Also cited for excellence were The Fix, Chris Cillizza’s politics blog, and Jefferson Morley’s World Opinion Roundup. People sometimes call Dan Froomkin’s White House Briefing a blog, but it’s really a Web-only column, and blogging software does not create it.

    The Post also deserves mention for its Technorati-powered links to bloggers on all articles–a major step forward announced in August ’05–and the new tags it’s now added to stories.

Poynter’s Steve Yelvington says:

    The list is useful, but much of the real innovation is happening outside that list of 100 big newspapers. I’m also reminded of a Jon Stewart report on blog coverage by big media, in which he gushed about how they’re using the revolutionary technology of the Internet to give voice to the … already voiced. Much of what shows up on the list is blogging from the staff to the audience, and some of the sites have little or no activity in response. Sometimes absence of signal is a signal.