by Benjamin J. Kirby
I took note of the response by Peter at SaintPetersblog to remarks made by Tim Nickens in POLITICO. Nickens is the Editor of Editorials at the Tampa Bay Times, and the POLITICO piece centered on the editorial page's nomination for a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing -- but no award was given. Look, Peter, of all people, certainly doesn't need me to speak for him or second any of his criticisms. And I intend to follow the old adage: don't pick a fight with a guy who buys ink by the barrel.
That said, I thought it was interesting that Nickens went straight to bloggers as a kind of scapegoat:
“I actually think that they’re at least as important or relevant as they’ve always been,” Nickens said [of newspaper editorial pages]. “There are so many voices now and it’s so cluttered with blogs and everything that it’s important to have an institutional voice that is respected in the community and is going to be here tomorrow and the next year, and not going to disappear tomorrow. You know who it is. You know what the institution stands for.”
“It’s not some person sitting by themselves in their pajamas in the bedroom,” he added.
Come on, Tim. Everyone knows about the Friday night Times sleepovers in the editorial conference room that you and Joni and C.T. and Robyn, Jim, Dan and John have.
Your Spiderman Underoos are totally the bestest.
Right, right... barrel full of ink.
Anyway, as it happens, I am in my SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas most nights I write a blog post. And you know what? I don't have a Pulitzer, either. I guess we have that in common.
Let me say this in seriousness: I agree with Mr. Nickens that having a news institution of credibility matters. A trusted, long-serving voice in the community is key. Having a respected newspaper be an integral part of daily life is incredibly important to a community. In a lot of ways, it drives our community. It reflects our community.
I've written about the impact of the state budget locally. Isn't that a part of the community?
I've blogged about the ongoing drama with the Tampa Bay Rays. No matter where they end up, aren't they a part of the community?
Matt Spence, a friend, colleague and father of three has written on this blog about the USF Polytechnic/J.D. Alexander deal, leadership, politics and religion. Isn't he a part of the community?
I am a blogger. I'm not the most important, or the best, or the most influential. But I am. Aren't I a part of this community?
I think I am. Even in my SpongeBob pajamas.