Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine weighs in on Wide Open’s closure

You can read it here.

What it sounds like, reads like when someone gets it (no surprise since Jeff Jarvis, as he writes in the post, oversaw Cleveland.com when he worked at its parent company – I assume that’s Advance; John Ettorre has written the history before I just don’t remember it all):

This should be a new relationship. It should be about discovering and joining in a conversation. I saw another sign of this at the BBC the other day when staffers kept fretting about filling a blog, as if it were a show rundown or a blank page. I told them to stop looking it that way and instead to take the advice I’m giving my students: Find the conversation. Join in. Contribute to it — indeed, contribute journalism, answering questions, finding facts, fact-checking the ones that are there. But to do that — beware — you have to talk at a human level with other humans with opinions (who don’t want to talk to a closed door).

I can’t imagine the emotions and thoughts Wide Open 1.0′s failure must evoke for him.

FYI: Check out Jarvis’s disclosure section. Great idea. I’m particularly fond of how he describes his politics, because it’s how I describe myself all the time:

I am a liberal: a centrist leaning left. I have voted for Democrats in most elections. Nonetheless, I piss off Democrats for not always agreeing with them and for linking to those with whom they disagree. But that is why I like the blogosphere so much: because I end up talking with people whose opinions often don’t align with mine….I believe in separation of church and state but I’m not nutty about it; it’s OK to say Merry Christmas, but it’s not OK to bring prayer to school or religious dogma to the FCC. I am pro-choice, though have no idea what I would do if faced with that choice myself….I support Israel’s right to exist. I am in favor of government funding for research, including stem-cell research.

Then, check out the NYT freelancer questionnaire and his answers. Did Jean Dubail or anyone else at the Plain Dealer ever consider such a thing for us? As someone who has written and been paid for PD op-eds, I never saw one of those. The existence at the PD of something like that would at least give the paper a teensy shred of credibility as they continue to stand their ground, rather than say, you’re right – we don’t get it, we don’t want to get it or, at the very least, we’re not ready to get it yet even if we see it.

If anyone who would need me to make disclosures should ever pay me to do anything, I’m going to have to ask Jarvis to be a first-reader of my disclosure section.

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