by Kyle Swenson
It’s often the unsaid truism of the game, but the media is a pretty self-involved clique, sometimes to the point of near-narcissism. Sure, we like to see our monikers in print, and yeah, we’ll squeeze our publication name inside our copy from time to time — think of it as a visual fist bump for a job well done. But sometimes, certain outlets just take things in the wrong direction. This week’s example of Epic Navel Gazing: “Plain Dealer’s John Kasich endorsement sets bloggers abuzz.”
First off, we get it: Web copy. Got to keep that hopper full with new goodies, as anyone whose come within spitting distance of a newsroom in the last 5 years can tell you. The equation has been inscribed on the inside of everyone’s brain: New Copy = Page Views = Ad Sales = Newspapers Saved. Duh!
But when that blood lust for new material drives you to report on your own reportage, or, to be more specific here, report on your own editorializing, it can come off as circular.
So the PD gave Kasich the nod (the whole idea of endorsements is a bit of a dinosaur, by the way, some stale toast from back in the day based on the shaky logic that politicians are somehow less disingenuous before a room of reporters than before a room of regular voters). Nothing wrong there. But then a few days later, they threw up this story online summarizing the reactions of four members of the state's blogocracy to the endorsement. (Four is evidently the quorum for “abuzz”)
Don’t get us wrong, we think that it’s perfectly acceptable to follow-up on a scoop or measure the later impact of your reportage. And hey, we’re no Romenesko, either. But using precious online content space for a round-up on the buzz (four bloggers deep) you caused is auto-inflation.
The PD is one of the best papers in the state, obviously their endorsement is going to get talked about by the blogonauts — so does that really need to be pointed out? The paper should have a littler more confidence. Instead, they ran this hollow chest thump, coming off like the guy at the lunch table bragging about how much bigger his endorsement is than yours, just ask Grumpy Abe.