The Dagger apparently isn’t bush league enough to be considered for the Baltimore Sun’s “Mobbies,” a contest which highlights non-traditional media enterprises The Sun doesn’t consider a threat.
Or so we believe after reading the e-mail chain posted below between us and a polite Sun representative. To summarize: because we attempt to organize our reported stories instead of posting one long run-on list of links to other people’s work (as, say, the Politicker does) we’re not a blog and therefore not eligible.
In the Sun rep’s words:
“We have a blog defined in the official rules as “a blog, or weblog, is defined as a Web page with dated entries, with the most recent entries at the top of the page”
That’s kinda insane, as if someone decided earlier this decade that online news and comment couldn’t look any other way. We always hear people bash The Sun and other traditional media for not understanding media, but I’ve never seen so literal an example of them not getting it.
To see the distinguished collection of blogs The Sun has accepted nominations for, check out: http://data.baltimoresun.com/mobbies/
But that’s okay. We’ll settle for being their “other Baltimore sources” on the major Harford stories of the day. Because it’s not like they own a media operation in Harford County.
We’d like to think that The Sun’s criteria for an eligible blog/news site/whatever is just unbelievably simplistic, inconsistent, old-media nonsense from 2001, and not based on the operations which are least likely to cause them trouble.
Baltimore Brew and Investigative Voice are great start-up operations, much like our own. But they’re also in a much bigger playground, one dominated by The Sun. As an operation working in the suburbs they’ve pulled back from, The Dagger could in time do damage to whatever readership base remains for them there.
Is that a stretch? Maybe. But if The Sun really did discuss us “pretty extensively,” than we can only assume their decision to exclude us and include extremely similar sites was based on more than just a surface reading of the rules.
To the average reader, this all may sound kind of petty. But this is the same Sun which appeared to remove or obscure The Baltimore Examiner’s name from shots of the Inner Harbor which included the now-defunct newspaper’s building. At least that’s what those of us working there at the time believed.
But hey, maybe our read is off on all this. We welcome The Sun to revisit its decision, in the spirit of journalistic cooperation which can only benefit everyone, especially the reading public.
Here’s the email chain between The Dagger and The Sun:
I’m happy to learn about Dagger Press – cool site you have there! Unfortunately, it appears to be more of a news site, or collection of blogs, than a single blog, which is what the Mobbies are meant for. Do you want to resubmit any of the single blogs that are part of Dagger Press instead? That might be a good solution. For now, I’m moving Dagger Press out of the queue.
Director of audience engagement
The Baltimore Sun
I’m confused by your characterization of the site. If news sites, which happen to essentially be blogs running on blog platforms, are not allowed in the competition, then how do you characterize the following sites that have been nominated?
Politiker – which is now nothing but an aggregator with no original reporting.
Like the sites above, we are one site (blog) with many categories. Just because we write an article about the school system in our “School Yard” category and another about an upcoming election in “The Dirt” doesn’t mean they are separate blogs.
Thanks for your time,
Hey, Steve, thanks for writing back. I’ll take another look at the three you’ve mentioned. We have a blog defined in the official rules as “a blog, or weblog, is defined as a Web page with dated entries, with the most recent entries at the top of the page.”
We discussed Dagger Press pretty extensively yesterday and came to the conclusion that it is more of a Web site than a blog – frankly, I think that’s a boon to you; it speaks to how professional your site is. I saw that you tweeted about it, and re-read Andy’s piece, and noted that he didn’t refer to it as a blog either.
I apologize. This does seem to be a gray area.
I understand the difficulty in identifying what is a blog and what isn’t. However, I don’t agree with what the criteria you have selected.
If a blog “is defined as a Web page with dated entries, with the most recent entries at the top of the page”, then wouldn’t one’s twitter page be considered a blog? Posterous? Tumblr? Even facebook? If I go to bthesite.com, click on “your blogs”, I can see that they are publishing our feed.
Anyway, we accept your decision to leave us out. We’ll continue to try to explain your reasoning to our readers who ask us why we aren’t included.