Tribune columnist Dwight Jaynes is brave enough to tackle the issue of blogging over there today. I was intrigued by his point about being nice to sources. In Portland, he says, "you often lose your sources if you offend them." The problem being, the job he's describing isn't journalism, it's public relations. And it's a very dangerous attitude in a town with one monopoly newspaper and a few mediocre rivals. (Apart from the Mercury, which represents journalism's pinnacle, of course). So. Here's my manifesto for Portland journalists:
1.Grow a pair of whatever you need to offend your sources.
3.Do it again.
4.Call them up and explain that it's your job to ask tough questions.
5.Do it again.
6.Do it again.
Otherwise this town dies. It's that simple. Last night I was talking with someone about the Oregonian's coverage of the county's ongoing mental health crisis. Someone suggested that Art Sulzberger over there is essentially doing a PR job for the county. I can't say I disagree. But then, he does have an office in the county building—and it must be hard to piss off people you have to see at the water cooler. Art, what's this I hear about a forensic audit not having been done? Any chance you might run a story on it in the O tomorrow?