I think that Ezra Klein has been really influential here. He’s really good at his job, and he has a really good understanding of what it takes to make Web journalism work in a large news organization like this. So the fact that he’s been here and has been succeeding was important. The culture here does seem hospitable to this kind of journalism. And since he’s here, if there are culture clashes, he’s there to make sure that the organization makes the support that’s needed.
The people who have seen how Wonkblog works and seen how it’s succeeded, now they’re more open to some of the unorthodox things we do.
A print publication has a strict separation between news and opinion section. We use more of an analytical style. You don’t have this thing where the reporter doesn’t pretend he doesn’t have opinions about things. That makes people nervous on the newspaper side, but because the Web’s so crowded you have to do a certain amount of that to get attention. Because Wonkblog has been so successful at building an audience, it’s a risk they’re willing to take. It’s clearly the direction that journalism is going.
Disclosure: CJR has received funding from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to cover intellectual-property issues, but the organization has no influence on the content.
Ends today: If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of
10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.