Monday, May 12, 2008

GERSH KUNTZMAN'S THOUGHTS ABOUT BLOGS

At this year's Brooklyn Blogfest, Gersh Kuntzman, Editor of The Brooklyn Paper, asserted that bloggers need to moderate their readers' comments more carefully so that people don't have to sift through pages of hate-filled, purposeless stuff. Below is an email dialogue which took place between Gersh and Creative Times after the Blogfest.

Creative Times: I think there's room for both print media (which I love, by the way: I am totally addicted to local newspapers and New York-based magazines) and blogging. I think there needs to be some way for us all to get together to dialogue, not to attack each other. There is room for everyone.

Gersh: I love the blogs, but I don't think blogs are creating READERS. I think blogs are creating chatter. Now, chatter is GOOD. It is. But the entire industry — newspapers, books, blogs, too — will disappear if people stop wanting to take the time to READ. And my point that night was that some blogs are hurting their own efforts to create and nourish READERS.

Creative Times: So what does it take to create and nourish READERS?

Gersh: I'm a newspaper man, so I'm the last to know! But I think blogs do a GREAT job of creating a modern readership that likes an insidery, gossipy take on the issues of the day. Readers who pick up the Daily News and read a story about, say, a local issue, say to themselves, "Man, that paper doesn't know my community at all." That's where the blogs and, I'd like to think, The Brooklyn Paper, come in. (And that's why I started my speech by saying that we're all in the same game.) The idea is to tell the reader, "Listen, sister, here's the real story." Readers love that. But if it gets too insidery, new readers are alienated. It's a fine line.

Photo Courtesy of Dope on the Slope
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