Thursday, June 20, 2002
"Do It Once...", etc.

Kaus also took off recently on the approach the LA Times took to news. Kaus says:

The way to not quickly get at the truth is to follow the unbloggish motto of the L.A. Times' editor of several decades ago: "Do It Once, Do It Right, And Do It Long." That philosophy was why the LAT of that era blew its coverage of scandal after juicy scandal. They waited to "do it once." Sources didn't come forward -- and by the time they finally did it once, nobody cared.

The context is Woodward and Bernstein as bloggers. (Apparently, many think that naval gazing on blogging is one of the preeminent functions that people who are blogging can do. And the sheep say: "Blogging good! Journalism bad!")

Of course, during the same time frame, the LAT had good, in depth, articles over a number of topics that weren't breaking news. Would that my brain could recollect at least one in particular for an example, but it's been almost twenty years since my first trip to LA and of my experience of buying an LAT out of a newpaper box in front of a Bob's Big Boy, going in for breakfast, and marvelling at some two-page, six- (eight-?) column dissection of some matter of interest. One could argue that such articles are/were better suited for something like a newsmagazine, but compared the the Boston Globe of the time (1985), which was my daily paper back then, it was refreshing to see such in-depth coverage.

It's not that Kaus doesn't have a point; it's that there are other metrics besides "fast" or even "accurate" to use in measuring the quality of published information. Sometimes "depth" is one of those. Like almost everything else in this (i.e., the larger) universe, it's not a one-size-fits-all situation.